This article originally appeared on VICE India.
I may or may not have shared my four-person Netflix account password with my partner, father, brother, a cousin, a couple of friends, a colleague, a neighbour, my gym trainer and the friendly cashier at the local supermarket around the corner. I will neither confirm nor deny it because I hear that Netflix is sick of people sharing their passwords and is considering measures to counter (y)our generous but diabolical ways.
Greg Peters, chief product officer at Netflix, announced in an interview for the streaming platform's Q3 2019 earnings, that it is looking for ways to limit password sharing.
Currently, the number of devices that can stream on Netflix are limited but users are sharing passwords with friends and family, thereby circumventing the business model, according to which each household needs to have its own account. When asked about how exactly Netflix plans to do this without “alienating a certain portion of [its] user base," Peters said that they don’t have any “big plans” to announce immediately but that they will “see those consumer-friendly ways to push on the edges of that.”
Sharing web streaming passwords has been a long debated topic, considering it makes services like Amazon, Netflix, HBO and Hulu lose millions of dollars. A survey from research company Magid for CNBC from last year found that 35 percent millennials share their passwords and a demographic they call the post-millennials (21 and younger) shared passwords at a rate of a whopping 42 percent.
Tech companies are cashing in on this new-world problem as well. UK company Synamedia, for instance, has developed AI to hunt down password sharers. But Netflix might be treading lightly so as to not piss off its subscribers, one-third of who might quit a streaming service if the company used AI to stop password sharing.
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