Competitors mercilessly troll Netflix over password-sharing crackdown

In what should not be surprising at all, Netflix’s competition is using the opportunity to slaughter the streaming giant over its password-sharing crackdown, which officially started globally last week.

Netflix has been applying the new rules in a few select countries for a while now, but it announced a fresh global “Update on Sharing.”

“A Netflix account is for use by one household,” the company pointed out.

Netflix streaming crackdown
Part of Netflix's letter to users. Courtesy of Netflix.

This is, of course, the main idea. Individuals living outside the home where the original account owner is residing will not be able to share the same account for free anymore.

If they want, they can choose one of two options. The original account holder can pay another $7.99 per month for an extra person, or the extra person can sign up for their own membership. Individual plans can now be quite cheap if one chooses an ad-based tier ($6.99).

Netflix is going to control password-sharing with the help of tracking IP addresses, device IDs, and account activity. Verification codes will be regularly sent to the so-called freeloaders.

It’s all quite complicated, to say the least, and unsurprisingly, Netflix’s competition smells blood. Amazon Prime Video’s Twitter account posted an image of user profiles spelling out “Who’s watching? Everyone who has our password.”

What’s more, the account retweeted Netflix’s old post from 2017 that said “Love is sharing a password.” Quite obviously, the stance of the streaming company has since drastically changed.

Even Blockbuster has weighed in on the controversy. The company, known for VHS and DVD rentals but edged out of the market by streaming giants, operates only one store in Oregon but said on Twitter: “A friendly reminder that when you used to rent videos from us. We didn’t care who you shared it with… As long as you returned it on time.”

There’s a catch, though. Amazon Prime Video only posted the mocking image on its UK page – the main account didn’t, and the German account chose to delete the tweet. That’s because Amazon Prime Video doesn’t officially endorse account-sharing.

Replying to the German publisher Heise, Amazon stated that account-sharing was prohibited in the terms of service: “Prime customers are responsible for 'ensuring the confidentiality of the account and password,” according to Amazon's terms and conditions. “Sharing the account and password with third parties violates this."

Netflix argues that about 100 million households use the streaming service without paying for it. To put this into perspective: Netflix has about 233 million subscribers.

One can suppose other major streamers are also aware of the problem of password sharing and the inability to convert more subscriptions into cash. Max, Disney+, or Apple TV+ are staying quiet, for instance – if they see Netflix’s plan actually working out, they might follow its example.

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