Netflix reveals anti-account sharing changes to require monthly log-in at "primary location"
Devices accessing account from elsewhere risk being blocked.
Netflix has detailed a series of new measures to crack down on account sharing, in a desperate move to end the practice used by millions of subscribers who let friends and family log into their accounts.
The streaming service will soon designate a "primary location" for your account - your home - and require you watch something while connected to Wi-Fi there "at least once every 31 days".
Any devices not regularly located at your primary location - something Netflix will snoop on via IP addresses and device IDs - risk being blocked from access. The suggestion here is you can play Netflix's games on your phone while elsewhere, for example, but that some level of interaction with your home Wi-Fi will still be necessary.
If a device is blocked, you will need to request a temporary code to give seven days' worth of access (designed to be used if you are travelling), or connect the device back at your primary location on your home Wi-Fi.
For now, these changes are only live in Costa Rica - though Netflix is expected to roll them out globally in the near future.
Netflix had previously warned this clampdown was coming and was necessary in order to stem the tide of subscribers giving up on the service for various reasons. Netflix's falling subscriber figures have come alongside the rise of rivals such as Disney+, as many users look to cut down on costs during the current cost of living crisis, or simply to protest Netflix's stupid cancellation decisions. (1899, you deserved better.)
Here in the UK, Netflix now states that any device "accessed persistently from a location outside of your household" may need to be verified by the account holder via a four-digit code which must be entered within 15 minutes. Re-verification "may be required periodically," Netflix noted.
Forcing users who currently share accounts to sign up for themselves is seen as the only way Netflix is likely to now increase its userbase in the US and other markets where it is near saturation point.
In January, Netflix co-CEO Greg Peters admitted to Variety that the company expected some "cancel reaction" to its impending anti-account sharing changes, and that it would "not be a universally popular move".
The changes are designed to be a "gentle nudge" to those to don't pay, Peters concluded, though it's easy to see how some level of account sharing could remain.
For those using devices Netflix deems to be located outside of an account's primary location, that "gentle nudge" seems to be the seven-day request for access. Will this nudge the account owner each week to verify the request? Is Netflix hoping you'll one day decide your child/sibling/significant other should pay for themselves? We'll update when we hear word on when Netflix's changes will impact the UK.