Netflix is testing a way to crack down on password sharing.
The popular streaming service has been asking some users of the popular streaming site to verify their account via email or text, or to “verify later.”
“If you don’t live with the owner of this account, you need your own account to keep watching,” the screen reads, according to Streamable.com, which first reported the test. The test comes as streaming services proliferate and more people share passwords and services. Netflix confirmed the test but did not say how many people were part of the test or if it was only in the US or elsewhere. “This test is designed to help ensure that people using Netflix accounts are authorised to do so,” the company said in a statement.
The streaming giant has around 204 million subscribers worldwide including more than 66.6 million in Europe.
The most basic plan, allowing users to stream on one screen at a time, costs €7.99 per month while the €15.99 premium plan allows for four screens to stream simultaneously. But there has never been a limit on sharing an account when you aren’t streaming at the same time. Competition has definitely heated up in entertainment streaming, with recent entrants running from Disney+ in 2019 to Paramount+ most recently. In 2020, Netflix achieved annual revenue of $25 billion but free cash flow remained negative (-$284 million). It expects to break even with free cash flow turning positive for the first time this year.