As you may have heard, Netflix’s password-sharing fee is already live in the UK. But hold on to your remote controls, Sky, BT and Virgin Media subscribers, as there’s more bad news on the horizon: If you have Netflix tied to your pay-TV bill, you’re about to encounter another significant snag in your streaming experience.
Sky has recently updated its help pages with the nitty-gritty details, but the takeaway is rather gloomy. Customers who access Netflix as part of their Sky bundle are locked out from adding extra members to their Netflix accounts.
This spells trouble for those who have been freely sharing their Netflix access across multiple households – and is also true for other 3rd party services that offer Netflix – Virgin Media, BT – and Sky.
So what does this mean for your Netflix and Sky bills, exactly?
Sky customers can pay for Netflix via their Sky bill – often with a discount, or simply as a built-in part of their package. Sky Glass and Sky Stream’s Ultimate bundle, for example, already comes with Netflix’s basic tier.
As feared, customers who subscribe to Netflix through Sky won’t be able to take advantage of adding extra members to their Netflix account. This is crucial for those who’ve been using their Netflix accounts across multiple households.
Netflix’s Paid Sharing Fee In The UK: Key Details
Last week, Netflix introduced a new “Extra Members” feature in the UK. Traditionally, subscribers to Netflix’s Standard (£10.99/month) and Premium (£15.99/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.
To accommodate those losing access due to password sharing discontinuation, Netflix also launched a “Profile Transfer” feature, enabling them to retain their viewing history and preferences on a new paid account.
Notably, the ability to add Extra Members depends on the subscription tier. Basic or Standard-with-adverts tiers can’t add any, Standard subscribers can add one, while Premium can add up to two, each enjoying the same video quality as their account owner.
However, there are a few restrictions: Extra Members can 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.
Now that the Password Sharing Fee scheme is live, Netflix says UK offenders will be getting an e-mail from the company, that encourages them to add extra members.
If you ignore it – and keep sharing your password – those outside your household will likely get blocked at some point.
Subscribed To Netflix Through Sky, Virgin Media Or BT? No Paid Sharing For You
Sky’s guidance on this new policy highlights that a Netflix account is intended to be shared by people living together in one household, defined as a ‘Netflix Household’.
A Netflix Household is comprised of devices connected to the internet at the primary location where Netflix is viewed.
But under the new Netflix policy, if you have your Netflix subscription tied to your Sky bill (or Virgin Media, or BT), you’re essentially locked out from adding extra members.
The Sky 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.”
However, this doesn’t mean you won’t get the dreaded e-mail from Netflix, when the company detects that you’ve been sharing your Netflix account – it just means you won’t have a “cheaper” way to solve the issue.
This development could potentially inconvenience Sky customers who have been accustomed to sharing their Netflix access with friends or family outside of their household.
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.
Earlier this month, ISP Review reported that Netflix had been in talks with major UK broadband ISPs including Sky Broadband, BT, Virgin Media, and TalkTalk to discuss the potential impact on customers of their imminent crackdown on password/account sharing.
ISPs expressed concerns about potential backlash from subscribers as a result of this change – and we now know why – as those customers won’t be able to take advantage of the ‘Extra Members’ scheme, therefore their Netflix accounts may get blocked if they continue to share their passwords.
What if I’m already using someone else’s Netflix account on my Sky account?
In that case, you’ll need the Netflix account owner to contact Netflix to unlink their account from your Sky bill. You can then sign up for your own Netflix account (but will have to pay full price).
What if I’m paying for Extra Members – and now want to activate Netflix on my Sky account?
You can activate Netflix and link your account to your Sky package. However, upon activation, any extra members on this Netflix account will be removed, and you’ll no longer be billed for them.
Netflix will then notify the Extra members so they can transfer their profile to a new Netflix account, which will be billed separately (and they will have to start paying the full Netflix price).
What About The Other Pay-TV Companies?
The same holds true for customers of BT TV (“Extra Members cannot be added to Netflix accounts paid through BT”), TalkTalk (“A password borrower can simply subscribe to Netflix with a new account”), and Virgin Media.
Aimed at curbing account sharing and increasing revenue, the scheme has unfortunately led to a surge in dissatisfaction due to its additional financial burden on subscribers.
This development serves as a stark reminder that streaming services are continually evolving, and not always to the benefit of their user base.
Want more news about TV and streaming in the UK? Subscribe to our free newsletter.