Dear Netflix, Here’s a Simple Fix for Your Password Sharing Mess

Dear Netflix, Here’s a Simple Fix for Your Password Sharing Mess

Dear Netflix, Here's a Simple Fix for Your Password Sharing Mess

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Your mother lives in Ohio. You live in New York but you share a netflix account. The same goes for the family whose children are in college and for the couple living apart while one is stationed on a military base overseas.

I see your stories. I understand you. I was in the same boat.

People aren’t happy with Netflix’s decision to start charge members additional fees for sharing accounts. The company was called in for a 5 year old tweet: “Love is sharing a password.”

Even the card game Uno joined the Twitter Roast signal the about-face. Swarms of vocal Netflix subscribers are going wild on social media — the Netflix comment sections are really feeling the burn — vowing to cancel their accounts and wondering why they’re paying for multiple screens.

Netflix dubbed viewers outside of the main household as additional members or sub-accounts. In Canada, where prices are $16.50 for a standard plan and $21 for a premium plan, the cost of adding an additional member is $8 per person. If a single streaming service costing $30 a month to stream to two or four screens sounds like a lot to you, I agree.

In the US, we still don’t know how much it will cost each month for additional members. When Netflix finally decides to tell us, I think it should also announce some smart discounts.

Netflix needs a cheaper plan for students

Among those unhappy with the new policy are parents and their college students. If Netflix insists on charging for password sharing, I think they should offer a no-frills student subscription.

College kids love to stream, and they often do so on their parents’ accounts. Not as free riders, but as members of the household – even if their school is five states away. When we drop our 17 or 18 year olds off at college, I bet no one says, “It’s time for me to kick you off Netflix, you moron.”

Dorm: The moment they all found out they couldn’t log into their family’s Netflix accounts.

Coroimage/Getty Images

Rather than blocking children attending school away from home, Netflix should offer a student plan that is priced lower than its basic ad-supported subscription. Hulu, Paramount Plus and Spotify are doing it, proving a plan exists.

All three platforms use SheerID to verify the eligibility of college and university students. Hulu charges eligible students $2 per month for its ad-based plan. Spotify’s Premium Student Membership is $5 per month with the first month free and the added benefit of free access to Showtime and Hulu with ads. Paramount Plus is offering a 25% discount on its Essential plan for students that lasts four years, even if they graduate early.

If Netflix followed suit, it could find the happy medium between $2 and $5 a month to help a broke college student get out. The company rolled out its $7 ad-based tier in January, joining the ranks of Hulu, HBO Max, Peacock and others who have conquered this frontier. Adding a new subscription option aimed at students is reasonably within Netflix’s capabilities. If the streamer wants to keep their number of subscribers, why not?

Learn more: Best streaming service deals on Disney Plus, Hulu and more

Members of the military should also get a discount

Besides the students who spend months – or years – away from home, there are service members. It is common for a loved one to be stationed overseas while sharing a single Netflix account with their family in their home country or state. Rather than geo-block them or mark up account sharing fees, why not offer military pricing for active duty members? It’s something that streaming services like Disney Plus, Apple TV, and Discovery Plus offer customers.

Why does Netflix charge fees for sub-accounts?

For Netflix, everyone has to pay to play, especially if you don’t live under the same roof. From a business perspective, the company wants to exploit opportunities to make money on shared accounts. Intended to fund content creation and global operations, it was discussed during the company’s first quarter 2022 earnings call. According to Netflix, more than 30 million of those who believe sharing is caring live in the United States and Canada.

Surcharges are currently active in countries such as Canada, Spain, New Zealand and Portugal. In some regions, the additional fee also comes with additional steps, such as verifying that your device is connected to your primary location or sending invitations to additional members to use your account.

I love Netflix, but none of the other major streamers do. And as Fox 9 TV host Jason Matheson points out, it’s very embarrassing.

Netflix customers in the US will soon find out how to manage password sharing fees on their accounts — or not.

Joan E. Solsman/CNET

Netflix could lose out to the competition

With such a crowded streaming service market, every price hike, additional cost, and inconvenience can make a platform less necessary. Netflix is ​​aware that although it has been a pioneer in this field, there are rivals who want to be on top. Long ago it outstripped Blockbuster, showing how a business model can make or break a company’s survival.

Let’s not forget that content availability also plays a huge role, because if there’s nothing to watch to justify the monthly rate you’re paying, it’s time to drop something. We run our streaming services to save money or if we have run out of content to stream. If the extra cost is too high, especially in the US, Netflix should expect customers to spin for months at a time. That’s not to say services like HBO Max and Disney Plus are immune to being dropped, as they’ve had to deal with frustrated customers with price increases and also see cancellations.

However, the cost of password sharing fees may be too high. Only time will tell if this new setup is worth it for Netflix, but it will be an uphill battle to get customers around the world on board. A reduction plan could help soften the blow.

Netflix did not respond to a request for comment.


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