Last week, Netflix revealed plans it has to stop the phenomenon of “account sharing,” whereby multiple users can access its streaming services from a single account. But it seems that the overwhelmingly negative response to this attempt to block access to those who don’t live in the same household as the account owner has made the company change its mind, at least temporarily. Apparently that regulation was published “by mistake”.
According to official statements, even though that regulation was recently published on Netflix’s US website (and eventually removed), it does not apply to users in the US or other regions that don’t already have a system in place to limit account sharing.
“For a brief period of time, a Help Center article included information, which is only applicable in Chile, Costa Rica and Peru, was also available in other countries. We have updated the page in the meantime”, say Netflix representatives.
Netflix is just delaying the inevitable moment when it will block non-paying users
This doesn’t mean that regulation won’t come to other regions, just that they only apply to three countries at the moment. And this isn’t exactly new. Netflix is testing various strategies in smaller markets, where the risks are lower if problems can arise. Once a strategy is identified that can work internationally, the company quickly implements it. Mobile subscription is one such example, which debuted first in India and then expanded to other regions.
Incidentally, Netflix management reported to shareholders that it plans to stop account sharing by early 2023, so there will be such actions taken all over the world. The fact that that page has appeared is a clear sign that there are efforts to do so, and that sooner or later Netflix will shut down access for those who don’t use their own accounts.
Given the negative response from the community, it’s possible that some of the strict rules originally proposed will be somewhat “softened.” Otherwise, instead of gaining subscribers, Netflix might convince more current customers to drop their subscriptions. Compared to a few years ago, when Netflix had a near “monopoly” on streaming movies and series, there is now more and more competition, including in Romania, where we already have HBO Max, Amazon Prime Video, Disney+ and soon we will get SkyShowtime. In other countries there are others such as Hulu, Peacock+, Apple TV+, Showtime or Paramount+ (the latter will soon merge and offer similar content to what we get in Europe on SkyShowtime).