“People who do not live in your household will need to use their own account to watch Netflix.” – Netflix
Netflix is about to put the hammer down on multiple users outside one household, or primary location, using the same Netflix account. It’s already started in a few countries including Chile, Costa Rica, and Peru, where accounts can only be shared while in the same household. The service requires a “primary location” be set, and may ask to sign-in to verify that location every 31 days.
“Later in Q1, we expect to start rolling out paid sharing more broadly. Today’s widespread account sharing (100M+ households) undermines our long term ability to invest in and improve Netflix, as well as build our business,” Netflix said in a statement last month.
[Editor’s Note: Netflix briefly made live policies that applied only to Chile, Costa Rica, and Peru. They have since corrected the help pages.]
There are other annoying measures that may have to be taken by users (if the US follows other countries) such as having to verify when a user is accessing the account outside the primary location, and then given a 7-day viewing period before expiring.
Netflix determines primary and alternate locations by methods such as IP addresses, device IDs, and user geographical data to determine whether or not someone is authorized to use an account.
According to Netflix, “As long as the device being used to watch Netflix is using the internet connection in the primary account owner’s household, we will not require verification.”
We’re sure Netflix would love to have everyone paying for individual accounts, but the reality is many family members are children, students (some away from home), and those who do not have the means to pay for their own account. Many of those users would likely not be using Netflix if it were not for a primary account holder sharing a password.
However, Netflix is banking on growth of the service’s new ad-supported $6.99 per month plan. Apparently, the lower-priced tier doubled the number of sign-ups in January from last December, but we’re not sure if that reflects new members or includes downgrades from higher tiers.
It may sound like Netflix is not going to let you travel with your Netflix account, but that’s necessarily the case. They have said they will force verification if the IP address accessed from does not match the account holder’s primary location. This essentially means you may have to re-verify devices when you travel or live in a different location.
It’s not such a bad thing. We do it for other apps and services. But it could mean a lot of hassle for multiple account users, legal or not.
To this end, Netflix recently launched a “Manage access and devices” section where account holders can see where the account was used, on what device, and when it was last watched.