Netflix Extends Password Sharing Crackdown To Sky Users

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Netflix’s contentious crackdown on password sharing, long a subject of concern among UK streamers, has finally extended its reach to Sky subscribers.

In May 2023, Netflix began its campaign against password sharing in the UK, aiming to tighten control over how its service is used.

Initially, Sky customers, who get Netflix through their Sky bill, seemed temporarily exempt from these changes, but not anymore.

This week, some Sky users encountered a new Netflix notification on their TVs, a clear indication that the streaming giant’s password-sharing enforcement has reached them.

Sky Glass Netflix collage

In light of this, Sky took to social media to address the new status quo – and explain to confused Sky users, what their new ‘Confirm Your Netflix Household” TV notifications were all about (see more details below).

Furthermore, the situation is even more complicated for Sky’s users (as well as BT TV and Virgin Media) – since Netflix’s ‘Extra Members’ scheme, which allows people to pay a reduced fee if they want to add additional subscribers to their account – is not available to Sky’s customers.

Netflix’s Account Sharing Ban Explained

Netflix’s decision to clamp down on password sharing wasn’t made overnight. The streaming giant has been grappling with the challenge of unauthorized account sharing for years.

With over 100 million households reportedly sharing accounts, Netflix saw a need to address this issue head-on to maintain its revenue stream and investment in new content.

So in May, Netflix introduced a new “Extra Members” scheme in the UK (and in other countries).

Netflix Extra Members graphic
Extra Netflix Members (Photo: Netflix)

Traditionally, subscribers to Netflix’s Standard (£10.99/month) and Premium (£17.99/month) plans could stream on up to two and four devices respectively, allowing sharing across multiple households.

However, Netflix has been losing potential individual subscribers due to this sharing policy.

To counter this, Netflix now allows subscribers to add paid sub-accounts for those they don’t live with, costing an extra £4.99/month per member.

These Extra Members have their own profiles, personalized recommendations, and unique login details.

Netflix on smartphone

However, there are a few restrictions: Extra Members can only watch on one device at a time, download titles for offline viewing on one device, and can’t have a Kids profile.

They must also activate their account in the main account holder’s country.

Interestingly, it seems Netflix’s password-sharing ban has been quite successful, increasing the company’s profits, without causing too many people to leave.

Therefore, Netflix was even bold enough to raise some of its prices recently.

Netflix Subscribers On Sky Asked To Confirm Their Household

As part of the password sharing ban effort, Netflix now requires users to define their ‘Netflix Household’, which is limited to people living in the same physical location.

This is where the need to confirm a ‘Household’ comes into play. It’s a measure to ensure that the account is being shared only among those residing at the registered address.

Netflix password login phone

Of course, you can still watch Netflix on your mobile phone when you’re out and about, or even on holiday – but from time to time, Netflix will want to see that phone (or any other mobile device) “connect” to the same WiFi network that’s present in your defined household.

Then, using data such as IP addresses, device IDs, and account activity, Netflix can track where the service is being accessed. If it detects that someone outside the defined ‘Household’ is using the account, it can restrict or block access to these users.

According to Sky’s help team on social media, Sky’s Netflix subscribers have only recently started seeing these household confirmation messages – which means their Netflix password-sharing days are over.

Sky / BT / Virgin Media Netflix Subscriber? Forget About Paid Sharing

The situation for Sky subscribers (and other pay-TV companies) is even more complex than for direct Netflix users.

The ‘Extra Members’ scheme, the part that allows partial account sharing at a reduced fee, is not available for those who access Netflix through Sky, so you’re essentially locked out from adding extra members.

Sky’s guidance states, “As your Netflix account is linked to your Sky bill, you won’t be able to share it with a different household by adding extra members. This option is currently only available through Netflix directly.”

But, as the recent notifications from Netflix to Sky users demonstrate – this doesn’t mean you won’t get the account ban enforcement hammer from Netflix – it just means you won’t have a “cheaper” way to solve the issue.

Metz Roku TV Netflix

Furthermore, subscribers wishing to transfer a Netflix profile to a new account will face limitations if their subscription is paid through Sky or linked to a Sky package.

Using Someone Else’s Netflix on Sky

If you’re still using a Netflix account linked to someone else on your Sky account, the account owner will need to contact Netflix to delink their account from your Sky bill.

Afterwards, you can create and subscribe to your own Netflix account, though this means paying the full subscription price.

Extra Members and Activating Netflix on Sky

If you’re paying for Extra Members (through a standalone Netflix subscription) and then decide to activate Netflix with your Sky package, be aware that upon activation, all Extra Members will be removed.

Netflix on TV socks
Photo: Deposit Photos

These members will receive notifications from Netflix to transfer their profiles to new, separately billed Netflix accounts.

What About Other Pay-TV Services?

For BT TV, TalkTalk, and Virgin Media customers, the situation mirrors that of Sky.

BT TV (soon to become EE TV) doesn’t allow Extra Members on Netflix accounts paid through its service.

TalkTalk suggests password borrowers set up new Netflix accounts.

Similarly, Virgin Media follows the same protocol as Sky in terms of Netflix account sharing and Extra Members.

Looking Ahead: What Sky Customers Can Do

Sky subscribers (and the other pay-TV companies) must now adapt to this new reality.

Without the option to add ‘Extra Members’, they might have to restrict their Netflix usage to their household or encourage friends and family to get separate Netflix subscriptions.

This change is a stark reminder of the evolving nature of streaming services – and especially the costs that keep going up, either directly or indirectly.

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