Netflix may start cracking down on password sharing

Netflix Los Angeles Headquarters
Password sharing has been an ongoing concern for content providers and distributors, and the practice has negative impacts on overall earnings. (Netflix)

Netflix could be looking into cracking down on viewers who log in with other people’s accounts rather than paying for their own.

GammaWire spotted tests for alerts for users that may be using someone else’s password. A screenshot reads “If you don’t live with the owner of this account, you need your own account to keep watching.” The alert then prompts users to request a verification code via email or text message. Users can also choose to verify later. The report surmises that the tests are still fairly limited.

Variety confirmed the tests with Netflix.

“This test is designed to help ensure that people using Netflix accounts are authorized to do so,” the company said in a statement.

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Password sharing has been an ongoing concern for content providers and distributors, and the practice has negative impacts on overall earnings. In 2019, Parks Associates forecasted that OTT and pay TV companies lost $9.1 billion in revenue due to piracy and account sharing. The firm at the time said that 27% of U.S. broadband households engage in some form of piracy or account sharing.

On the pay TV side of the video industry, Charter has been a fervent proponent of strengthening content security and cracking down on unauthorized access. In 2019, Charter and Disney announced a new carriage agreement that included news about cooperatively working against video piracy.

The two companies said they will work together on “piracy mitigation” and implement business rules and techniques to address such issues as unauthorized access and password sharing. The companies didn’t go into further detail, but as Fast Company points out, a report from years ago could offer clues into the companies’ plans.

According to Bloomberg, Charter during contract negotiations was encouraging programmers to limit concurrent streams and to force pay TV subscribers to log in more often. The report also portrayed Disney as an ally in the fight against password sharing.