Netflix’s much-dreaded ‘Password Sharing Fee’, which will stop people from sharing their password with individuals who don’t live with them unless they pay extra – is starting to roll out.
This week, Netflix’s ‘Extra Members’ scheme went live in four additional countries, after a previous trial in Latin America: Canada, New Zealand, Portugal and Spain.
And as previously announced, more countries will be added “in the coming months” – which means users in the UK who currently share their Netflix password, will have to get used to a new reality soon.
In light of this launch, we now know more details on how this will work – with Netflix’s customers having to designate a ‘Primary Location’ for their account.
According to Netflix, however, this shouldn’t affect customers who want to watch shows while they travel – but there are a few caveats to that (see full details below).
Why Is Netflix Clamping Down On Password Sharing?
Sharing your Netflix password is often mentioned in money-saving guides as a way to share the cost of the popular American streaming service – either with family members who don’t necessarily live with you, or even among groups of friends.
But password sharing (with people who don’t live with you) is against Netflix’s terms of service.
For a long time, the company turned a blind eye to account sharing, but with customer numbers around the world declining, Netflix is now reiterating that “A Netflix account is intended for one household”.
According to Netflix, over 100 million households are currently sharing accounts, “impacting our ability to invest in great new TV and films”.
Therefore, in recent months, Netflix started testing various means to combat password sharing – or at least earn from it. Which is how the ‘Extra Members’ scheme came to be.
Netflix’s Extra Members Scheme
Currently, if you are subscribed to Netflix’s “Standard Plan” (£10.99/month in the UK), you can stream content on up to two devices at the same time. The Premium Plan (£15.99/m) lets you stream on up to four devices.
This means that up to four individuals, who can be in different homes or even in different countries, can watch Netflix at the same time, under the same account. Of course, this also means Netflix gets just one paying subscriber instead of four.
The Extra Members feature lets subscribers add paid sub-accounts for people they don’t live with, each with their own profile, personalized recommendations, login and password.
Furthermore, to help users who will find themselves without a Netflix account once a password is no longer shared with them, Netflix recently launched a new “Profile Transfer” feature, which lets people transfer their Netflix profile – with its personalized recommendations, viewing history and watchlist – to a new paid account.
Standard Plan subscribers can add one extra member, and Premium subscribers can currently add up to 2 extra members.
You’ll note that subscribers on Netflix’s new Basic-with-Ads tier, as well as on the No-Ads Basic tier, can’t add extra members under their primary account.
The upcoming cost for each extra member in the UK isn’t known yet – but it’s currently CAD$7.99 a month per person in Canada, NZD$7.99 in New Zealand, Euro 3.99 in Portugal, and Euro 5.99 in Spain.
How Will Netflix Know I’m Sharing My Password?
Once the ‘Extra Members’ scheme goes live in the UK (and other countries), Netflix’s customers will have to set a ‘Primary Location’ for their account, on their TV at home.
A verification link will then be sent to the account’s email address or phone number.
Netflix will then use your WiFi or your Wired broadband connection and IP to ‘lock’ your primary location into one house (according to Netflix, they won’t be using any GPS information).
If you don’t actively set a Primary Location – Netflix will do it for you automatically, based on your IP address, device IDs and account activity.
At that point – anyone who tries to use your Netflix account in a different location – will eventually get some sort of notification, and his access will stop working.
Subscribers who don’t have a TV and only watch Netflix on mobile devices – won’t have to set a Primary Location for now.
Can I Watch Netflix While Travelling?
Yes, you will still be able to stream from your Netflix account when you’re traveling (either in the UK or internationally), but there will be a few extra caveats and blocks in place once the ‘Extra Members’ scheme goes live.
If you’re streaming from your own device (a smartphone, tablet, or laptop, for example) – you shouldn’t encounter any issues, AS LONG as you open the Netflix app on your device, while connected to the Wi-Fi network at your primary location, at least once a month – and then when you arrive at the second location.
This means that if you travel for more than a month, without returning home (your ‘Primary Location’) – you might face issues.
If you’re trying to watch Netflix on a new device when you’re traveling – via a hotel TV, for example – you shouldn’t normally face issues, but if the algorithm gets suspicious – you might have to request a ‘temporary code’ via your account, which will let you activate the new device for a limited time.
It’s also unclear yet how this scheme will affect those who stream Netflix with a VPN.
What Will Netflix’s ‘Extra Members’ Get?
As part of the Extra Members scheme, those ‘Extra’ paying members will enjoy many of the same Netflix benefits that the primary account holders enjoy:
- Unlimited access to Netflix’s content
- The ability to watch on any device with a Netflix app (TV, streaming sticks, smartphones, etc.) – but only on one device at a time (so extra members can’t share their account with extra-extra members…)
- The same video quality as the paying, primary member (so HD on the Standard plan and 4K on the Premium Plan)
- Extra members can download content for offline viewing – but only on one smartphone/tablet at a time
- Extra members can only have one profile (so they can’t let other family members create more profiles on their sub-account)
It’s interesting to note that while Netflix is enforcing these rules as part of their terms of service – the UK government recently announced that, in some cases – password sharing might even be illegal.
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