In context: Account sharing is a common practice among Netflix users, but for obvious reasons, the streaming service has never been a big fan of it. Users who share accounts with friends and family practically eliminate the need for those people to subscribe with their own, separate profiles. This lost revenue is something Netflix hopes to combat soon.
At least, if a recent test it’s working on pans out. According to GammaWire, Netflix is displaying a warning to some users who log in with accounts that aren’t their own. The warning says “If you don’t live with the owner of this account, you need your own account to keep watching.”
A follow-up piece of text says “Is this your account? We’ll send you a verification code.” Below that message, there are three buttons, two of which let you receive the code via email or text. The third just says “verify later.”
Presumably, Netflix is relying on IP addresses to determine whether or not the currently logged-in user is part of the account owner’s household. If so, VPNs might be able to get around the restriction. And, of course, even if you’re using the account of someone who lives in a different area (or even country), you could always just ask them to read off the verification code for you.
Still, for Netflix, this test is probably a step in the right direction; at least, as far as revenue is concerned. The company also claims it’s hoping this anti-account sharing measure will boost security. The rationale here is, if somebody discovers your login credentials and attempts to watch from another location, theoretically, this could stop them in their tracks and alert you to the breach.
Netflix hasn’t rolled this test out worldwide yet, and we don’t know exactly which regions it’s live in yet. However, provided the public outcry against it isn’t too significant, we wouldn’t be surprised to see it become a permanent fixture of the service in the near future. It only poses a mild inconvenience to truly committed account sharers, and it might just increase subscriptions a bit. That’s a win for Netflix no matter what.