While a large number of people may balk at getting told their “household” is no longer covered under a friend or family’s Netflix plan under the new password sharing rules, it does seem to be doing what Netflix was hoping it would do. And if ultimately, the plan is considered a success, you can expect other streaming services to follow down that same road.
According to data research firm Antenna (via Variety), the four days after the password crackdown began led to the four largest days of US sign-ups since January 2019, when they started tracking that data to begin with. It was a 102% increase from the previous average, and more than COVID-based increases when everyone was confined at home and wanted something to watch.
On Netflix’s two highest-priced plans, extra accounts cost $8 each. On the two lowest, you can’t add people at all, as Netflix just wants those people to sign up for their own subscription at that price.
The market seems to love Netflix’s content and account plans. While the entire streaming industry is under scrutiny for a bloat of shows and the decimation of writer pay leading to the massive Writers Strike, Netflix as a corporate entity has watched their stock soar, up 25% in the last month and up 129% in the last year.
So, great for Netflix, but as a consumer, if the “adding paid accounts” idea works alongside kicking off password-sharers entirely, I would absolutely expect similarly severe crackdowns to be implemented using Netflix as a model. I would expect HBO/HBO Max/Max to jump on this almost immediately, and I’m expecting that any day now. As for the rest? Amazon, Apple, Hulu, Disney, Paramount, Peacock (am I missing any?), they may end up following. Though with the largest market share, Netflix has more customers to lose from the practice, and other smaller services may be willing to let it go so long as more people are watching their shows on the whole. But I bet a lot of them do in fact follow down this path.
Despite a lot of hand-wringing around streaming and Netflix in particular, it’s not going anywhere. Broadcast TV will never truly recover and it’s going to take an extremely long time for Netflix to continue losing significant market share. After this new subscriber surge it may be hard to repeat that as they reach a global saturation point, but for now, they are cruising.
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