ULV students are not happy with Netflix’s new password policy

Taylor Moore
LV Life Editor

Netflix, one of the most popular streaming services, is ready to bring down the hammer on sharing passwords. 

In a letter to Netflix shareholders, the streaming service giant said it expects to launch a paid account feature sharing more broadly this year. 

In 2017, Netflix tweeted, “Love is sharing a password.” It seems that the company no longer has that mindset. 

Netflix has already put forward anti-password sharing efforts. 

In March 2022, Netflix began testing two new features. One allowed members to add a sub-account for people living outside their household for an additional fee, and the second allowed users who share an account to transfer their profile information to a new account or sub-account. Such features were tested in Chile, Costa Rica, and Peru. 

Currently, those features have not been launched in the U.S., but password sharing will be stopped this year, at least free password sharing. 

In the same letter, Netflix said it wants to stop free password-sharing because it is estimated that 100 million households share passwords outside of their subscription plan. In other words, if so many people are password sharing, then there are just as many people not paying for a subscription and are getting a free one from someone sharing with them. Netflix saw an opportunity for extra profit and is going after it. 

One might wonder how Netflix will be able to tell whether someone is watching from an account that is not theirs. Netflix said on its website that it could detect devices outside of a household using information like IP addresses, device IDs, and account activity from devices signed into the Netflix account. 

According to Netflix’s website, a Netflix account is meant to be shared in one household, meaning people who live in the same location as the account owner. Those not in the household must sign up for their own account to use Netflix. That is until the paid sharing account feature is extended to the U.S. 

In an informal survey conducted at the University of La Verne, nine out of 21 students said they are sharing their Netflix account with someone outside of their household or that someone is sharing an account with them. 

When asked who is sharing their account with them or who they are sharing an account with, five students said their partner, six said their friends and 11 said a family member outside their household. 

“Currently, my girlfriend shares her Netflix with me because it just makes sense financially to share an account since we hang out a lot and use Netflix as our main streaming service,” Peter Trinh, junior business major, said. 

There are currently four subscriptions for members to choose from. A basic subscription with ads is $6.99 per month, a basic subscription is $9.99 per month, a standard subscription is $15.49 per month, and a premium subscription is $19.99 per month. 

Thirteen out of 21 students said that they do not think a Netflix subscription is affordable. 

Emma Vu, senior business major, said she was sharing a Netflix account with her mom but then her mom canceled it due to the cost. She was already paying for Hulu, HBO Max, and Peacock subscriptions. Vu said she found herself only using Netflix when shows released a new season. 

“I only missed (Netflix) when the new season of ‘You’ came out,” Vu said. “Personally, I think if I wanted (a subscription), I could afford it, but I would rather spend my money on other things like food or clothes. I personally don’t think it’s worth the amount (of money).” 

Vu is not the only one who does not think Netflix is worth the cost. Twelve out of 21 students said Netflix is not their primary streaming service, with nine said they use it only occasionally. Six said they do not think Netflix is providing good streaming content compared to their competitors. 

Trinh said he thinks Disney+ is a better streaming service. 

“For the price, you are getting a wide selection of movies and shows. Anybody would be able to go onto it and find something they will enjoy,” Trinh said. “Netflix used to be the same way, but now it’s becoming repetitive since they don’t release new things often, and when they do, other streaming services may already have it.” 

Eleven out of 21 students said that once Netflix’s password sharing restrictions reach the U.S., they will no longer use Netflix. 

Bianca Alagunas, sophomore psychology major, shares an account with her family, but once Netflix stops password sharing, she will not use it since it is not a priority for her. She said she liked the idea of password sharing and feels that Netflix already profits greatly from people without additional fees. 

She is not the only one. Naty Castellon, junior kinesiology major, also shares an account with her family, but she and her brother do not live at home, so they are considered outside the household. Because of this, she said she would probably watch other streaming services and not get her own subscription. 

“It would just be a waste,” Castellon said. “I will gladly keep my loyalty with other streaming services that allow more accessibility with my membership.” 

Twenty out of 21 students said they do not favor Netflix adding restrictions to password sharing. 

Taylor Moore can be reached at taylor.moore@laverne.edu

Taylor Moore is a senior broadcast journalism major and Campus Times editor-in-chief for Spring 2024. In her sixth semester on Campus Times, she has served as the LV Life editor and social media editor twice, as well as a staff writer. She’s also worked on the University’s television news broadcast Foothill Community News as an anchor and reporter, and was a on-air personality for the University’s radio station 107.9 LeoFM.

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