How to Manage the Netflix Sharing Crackdown

It's been a good run. We've been able to share our Netflix account with our kids as they go off to college, with our parents, and even share the cost with friends. With the premium 4K tier now running $19.99 monthly for just Netflix, it's no wonder we want to share. But after a year of working out the kinks, the sharing crackdown has begun and most of us will have to make choices.

It's not your fault that you share. A little over five years ago, then-Netflix CEO Reed Hastings encouraged sharing as the company was looking to boost its viewership. But in a market that has experienced an explosion of content-producing streaming services — from Hulu and Amazon Prime Video to Apple TV, Max, Paramount+, Disney, and more — Netflix must begin capturing revenue lost from the 100 million-plus households that share accounts.

The Sharing Crackdown Begins
Likely, you've received an email from Netflix with the subject, "An update on sharing between households." The email explains what a household is: "A Netflix Household is a collection of your Netflix devices connected to the internet at the main place you watch Netflix. A Netflix Household can be set using a TV device. Devices that use your Netflix account on the same internet connection as this TV will automatically be part of your Netflix Household."

It's all based on IP addresses and your internet ISP account. If, for example, you have more than one ISP coming out of your home — that is, you use more than one modem or have multiple external IP addresses — you won't be able to watch Netflix connected on both Wi-Fi networks; a rare situation for sure, but one that exists. In other words, it's not about physical location; a shared internet connection is what determines a household.

When you launch Netflix on one of your devices in the household, you will likely see a message: "Netflix is meant for you and the people who live with you." You'll then be able to confirm that this is your main Netflix household and that your TV is part of that household.

All other TVs and devices that share that internet connection will automatically be registered as part of your Netflix household. Netflix determines this using IP addresses, device IDs, and account activity.

If you want to see who is using your account, sign into Netflix, go to your profile, then "Account" and "Manage Access and Devices." This page lists what devices have actively used your account and which profile member used it. Here, you can also quickly sign out of any devices you don't want to have access to your account.

Sharing Your Netflix Account
You can still share your Netflix account — you just have to pay for extra members outside your household. Standard with Ads or Basic plans cannot add extra members. One extra member can be added to a Standard Plan for $15.99 or up to two members with the $19.99 Premium Ultra HD plan. The extra member receives the same streaming quality as the main account, and premium quality members share the Ultra HD 4K video streaming capabilities.

When an extra member is detected outside your household, they have three choices:

  1. Become an Extra Member of the household they had been sharing with for $7.99 per month in addition to the household's subscription rate. When an extra member is added, they receive their own account and log-in information.
  2. Migrate their account and transfer their profile to a new account and maintain their recommendations, viewing history, My List picks, saved games, and settings. The new member will have to pay full price for the new subscription but won't have to start from scratch.
  3. Start over by signing up and creating a new account. This option makes a clean break from the original household and wipes out the viewing history, "continue watching" prompts, and recommendations, etc.

Will Netflix Lose Customers?
When you consider the price for Netflix, a single streaming service, could run more than $35 per month. A Premium Household with two extra members will cost more than what many families are willing to pay. According to last year's Time2Play survey, the majority of respondents said $24.66 would be too expensive to keep their account. With the price of streaming live TV nearly equalling that of traditional cable, having an expensive second service may well break the budget.

Will this strategy backfire on Netflix, causing it to lose customers and revenue? Only time will tell. If it is successful, expect to see other streaming services follow suit.

For more detail on how to manage your Netflix account, visit the Netflix Help Center.

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