It’s still a small sample size but we have confirmed from a number of Netflix users that the streaming service is starting to roll out a test of warnings to those allegedly borrowing account login information from users outside of their home or family.
For the time being, the number of users impacted seems to be relatively small (there is some loose chatter about specific users receiving these warnings on Twitter and other social networks, but nothing widespread yet).
The warning pops up and requests that users verify that it is in fact their account with a verification code. In other words, if you’re borrowing your ex’s account, good luck with that text asking for them to forward you the code.
Most of the users that we have seen commenting on the test online also mention that they simply pressed “verify later” and the warning has yet to return a second time. Still, this is likely cause for consideration. It is a common practice to share streaming service logins, especially in some sort of trade deal, where perhaps one cordcutter gives a friend their Hulu login in exchange for a Netflix login. The practice isn’t illegal by any stretch of the imagination, but commonly is in violation of many of the streaming services’ terms of service.
While this probably shouldn’t surprise anyone that one of the world’s largest streaming services might start cracking down on password sharing, it does indicate where the market growth opportunity most likely lies. With competition from an almost countless list of streaming services, Netflix needs to pay closer attention to user growth and requiring that people using someone else’s account login sign up for their own account is one way to increase their key metrics.
The most notable part of this whole test is that Netflix has long claimed letting people borrow passwords has been one of their strongest marketing channels. While never officially confirmed, there were reports that Netflix had metrics showing those who used other people’s Netflix accounts were highly likely to sign up for their own accounts. This recent push to drive people borrowing passwords into signing up for their own accounts might indicate an internal shift in Netflix’s customer acquisition data showing a worrying trend for the company.
It will be interesting to see as this test continues to expand in its roll out or if the backlash it will surely generate causes Netflix to pause on their decision. As more people receive this warning, we expect chatter on social media to ramp up and will update this post if we get any confirmation directly from Netflix about the test. Streaming is one of the biggest consumers of broadband internet today, and almost as common as having a TV.
(image credit Twitter)