from the meet-the-new-boss… dept
Undaunted by criticism that its plan is little more than a Comcast-esque cash grab, Netflix executives say they’re moving full speed ahead with a plan to begin cracking down on password sharing, a practice executives spent years previously encouraging.
In a letter to shareholders, Netflix said it would be bringing its password sharing crackdown to the US early next year, after having spent much of this year using Central and South American Netflix users as messaging test subjects:
“We’ve landed on a thoughtful approach to monetize account sharing and we’ll begin rolling this out more broadly starting in early 2023. After listening to consumer feedback, we are going to offer the ability for borrowers to transfer their Netflix profile into their own account, and for sharers to manage their devices more easily and to create subaccounts (“extra member”), if they want to pay for family or friends.”
Under the program, Netflix will scan user accounts for users who use the service outside of the core subscription home, then charging the original account holder between $3.50 and $4.00 per month extra if those users don’t sign up for service on their own. Netflix is still being cagey about precisely what technical monitoring they’ll be using to confirm passwords are being shared outside the home.
Netflix had been testing the crackdown in markets like Peru and Argentina. It hasn’t gone particularly well; enforcement has been a bit of a mess, and incoherent messaging has confused users already facing tighter budgets thanks to global inflation.
As we’ve noted a few times, this is generally just a dumb cash grab by a company worried about soaring competition and sagging subscription totals. Netflix already recently imposed a general price hike on all users, and the company already monetizes these extra users by limiting the total number of concurrent streams per account, charging you more money if you want more simultaneous streams.
We’ve also noted how once Netflix joined the MPA, it began exhibiting a lot of the same character flaws as the organization. Like claiming that password sharing was a form of “piracy.” Or throwing around a lot of dubious numbers on how much money they’ll make with a crackdown (despite there being no solid evidence that harassed users won’t just switch to a Netflix competitor or go watch TikTok instead).
Netflix used to adore password sharing, back when it was trying to gain market share. Now that it’s a big dog facing an army of new competition but still trying to deliver quarterly-returns-at-any-cost to Wall Street, it’s exhibiting all the same character flaws as companies like Comcast. Namely a shift in focus away from disruption and quality, and toward nickel-and-diming its existing subscriber base.
Surely that will go differently from the last fifty times entrenched giants employed the same tactic, right?
Filed Under: competition, password sharing, piracy, streaming, tv, video
Source by www.techdirt.com
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