Netflix NFLX-Q is attempting to crack down on password sharing with newly released guidelines. The company, which has 230 million subscribers globally, said last year that more than 100 million households were sharing accounts.
The plan to roll out anti-password sharing features internationally comes as Netflix tries to maintain its share of an increasingly crowded market where competitors such as Amazon Prime Video and Disney+ seize growing shares of audiences.
Here’s what we know so far about what Canadian users can expect when it comes to sharing their Netflix accounts with others.
Netflix says shared accounts are meant to be used by people who live in a single household. This means watchers who stream from the same account but don’t live in the same home will be targeted by the new rules, which will be enforced through IP addresses, device IDs, and account activity.
On Feb. 8, Netflix said it will begin notifying Canadian users by e-mail about limitations on who can access their account outside their household.
Under the new rules, premium and standard account holders will have the option to add extra members for $7.99 per month. For that price, premium high-definition 4K subscribers can add two members who don’t live in their household.
Standard subscribers, who pay less per month, can add one additional member for $7.99 a month. Basic and ad-supported plans will not be able to add more members.
Netflix did not say when and how it would start enforcing these new rules.
Last week, Netflix said users would begin having to verify devices used outside of their households. This means you would potentially get locked out of accounts belonging to friends, partners, or family members that you have added to your devices unless the account holder is able to verify your login on a regular basis.
Device verification will be required when an account is used persistently from a location outside of its associated household, which Netflix can determine by the IP address. The verification, which may be required periodically, entails entering a four-digit code sent to the primary account owner’s e-mail address within 15 minutes after the login attempt.
If you’re travelling for an extended period of time, Netflix says you may also be asked to verify your device. The verification process is the same when travelling as the one for devices outside of your household.
A previous version of the new guidelines, which was published by mistake on Jan. 31, said devices would need to connect to the WiFi at the account’s primary location every 31 days to ensure their access remained uninterrupted. A spokesperson for the company told The Streamable that those guidelines would be applicable only to Chile, Costa Rica, and Peru, where Netflix has been testing the new pay-per-user since early last year.
Canada is among the latest countries being added to the pay-per-user model, along with Spain, Portugal, and New Zealand. It’s not clear whether Netflix will start enforcing the rules in these countries as it does in Chile, Costa Rica, and Peru.
This move is the latest in Netflix’s efforts to boost revenue in a crowded streaming market, coming after the launch last year of a cheaper ad-supported subscription tier in Canada and 11 other countries.