Netflix Will Start Charging Subscribers for Sharing Their Passwords

Netflix is cracking down on password sharing outside a subscriber's household. The streaming giant has long acknowledged that people hand out their Netflix passwords to friends and family who might not live with them, but its past efforts have done little to curb the practice. Netflix even made it easier to do that without charging more. That could change thanks to a new idea Netflix announced Wednesday.

Over the next few weeks, Netflix plans to test two new features for subscribers in Chile, Costa Rica, and Peru. The first is called "Add an Extra Member," which will allow Standard and Premium plan subscribers to add sub accounts to up to two people who do not live with them. These sub-subscribers will have their own profile, login, and password. The main account holder will pay an extra 2,380 CLP in Chile, 2.99 USD in Costa Rica, and 7.9 PEN in Peru in addition to the cost of their Standard or Premium subscription.

The second feature is "Transfer Profile to a New Account." This will allow Basic, Standard, and Premium plan subscribers who share their account to transfer their profile information to a whole new account or an Extra Member sub-account. For example, if you started watching Stranger Things on a profile connected to a subscriber but plan to become a subscriber yourself, you can do that and continue watching Stranger Things from the point you left off at.

Netflix has acknowledged that people share their accounts with friends and family, even if they don't live with the main subscriber. While Netflix has tested ways to prevent this in the past, they have actually made it easier to do so with features like separate profiles and multiple streams for Standard and Premium plan subscribers. Unfortunately for a company that wants to spend more and more on new shows, these features don't bring in additional revenue because Netflix isn't charging more for them.

"While these have been hugely popular, they have also created some confusion about when and how Netflix can be shared. As a result, accounts are being shared between households – impacting our ability to invest in great new TV and films for our members," Chengyi Long, Netflix's director of product innovation, said in a statement on Wednesday. "So for the last year we've been working on ways to enable members who share outside their household to do so easily and securely, while also paying a bit more."

It's not clear when Netflix is looking to expand the newest features beyond Costa Rica, Chile, and Peru. Netflix had 221.8 million paying subscribers at the end of 2021, with 75.2 million of them living in the U.S. and Canada, notes Variety