It has been announced for a long time that the days of unsuspectingly sharing a Netflix account between different households are over. Now the company could have accidentally revealed the first terms.
According to Netflix analyses, more than 100 million households worldwide are so-called “sharing households”. In other words, viewers who access the streaming catalog with a shared password and thus do not pay the full price. For Netflix, this obviously holds huge sales potential, as the group assumes that most of these households would put down the entire amount if they had to. Now Netflix is gradually setting the course – to finally flip the switch at an as yet unknown date.
A help page of the company, which has since been changed, outlines what this should look like in practice. At the heart of every Netflix subscription is a primary location and a primary owner. Said location results from data that Netflix obtains from IP addresses, identifiers of the devices used and account activity.
Netflix relies on account holder activation
Once Netflix has settled on a location, things will be a lot bumpier than it used to be for people and devices outside of your own four walls. Netflix writes: “If a device outside of your household signs into an account or is in constant use, we may ask you to verify that device before it can be used to watch Netflix or switch your Netflix household.”
According to the help pages, this is then expressed as follows: As soon as a device that does not associate Netflix with the primary household logs in, the main owner receives an email or SMS. It contains a link behind which a four-digit code is hidden. The device can only use Netflix if this PIN is entered within a quarter of an hour. How long such verification lasts is unknown. It says “A device check may be required periodically.”
Netflix only provided a possible answer to the duration of the release for around one day. “Golem”, “Caschys Blog” and “Mobiflip” reported on this, among others. Because the help page already mentioned briefly contained completely new information that has since been removed. A copy can only be found on archive sites such as “Wayback Machine”. Netflix briefly stated that every device belonging to the original household should be connected to the local network at least once a month – and threatened bans on those who didn’t. It said, “Devices that aren’t part of your primary location may be blocked from watching Netflix.”
Short-term Netflix shares for travelers
Regular registration also allows account holders and devices to use Netflix without problems for a certain period of time when traveling and staying outside of their own four walls. However, unusually intrusive processes would apply to new registrations and devices that did not contact Netflix via the home network.
Because according to the catalog of rules, which has since disappeared, you have to request a temporary access code every seven days in order to continue using your own account. The information did not indicate who would provide this code. “Golem” writes that you have to request it through Netflix customer service, which sounds like a lot of effort for customers and the company.
The star asked Netflix which version of the information page is now valid – and received no final answer. It is no secret that the group is working flat out to find a new direction for dealing with shared passwords, but the general conditions are not yet ready for a decision, it said. Netflix did not want to comment on the information on the short-term available page with the deadlines mentioned.
Interestingly, there is no information on how Netflix accounts can be shared for a fee in the future – and what Netflix requires for this. It has long been said that in the future it will be possible to continue to share access if you pay a surcharge for members outside the primary household. It is unclear whether Netflix has refrained from this fairly transparent and simple strategy. Officially, it says: “A Netflix account is for shared use within a household (people living in the same place as the account owner).” The short sentence could be an indication of where the journey is going.
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