Password sharing: Netflix warns British telecos of customer backlash

As Netflix is embarking on a mission to address the widespread phenomenon of password sharing, the streaming titan has warned telecom companies such as Sky, Virgin Media, and BT to brace for potential customer backlash.
Netflix estimates that approximately 100 million paying households globally share their Netflix passwords with friends and family. Already taking action in regions such as Latin America, New Zealand, Spain, Portugal, and Canada, the company is now set to target its British subscribers in the coming weeks.
According to research conducted by Digital i, nearly 4 million homes, roughly a quarter of the UK's 15 million Netflix subscribers, generously grant others access to their accounts. Netflix's proposed solution involves urging paying customers to designate a primary location for their account. If their account is utilized from other areas, the account holder will receive a warning. To incentivize these generous sharers to transition to a "paid sharing" model, Netflix aims to offer additional features for a nominal fee.
The company has already initiated talks with its partners, such as Sky, TalkTalk, Virgin Media, and BT, who bundle Netflix with their TV and broadband packages. These discussions serve to forewarn the partners about the impending crackdown, as reported by the Financial Times.
Telecoms companies can anticipate an influx of customer inquiries via calls, chats, and emails regarding the potential limitations on usage that had become customary for sharing without charge.
Matt Ross, Managing Director of Digital i, predicts an initial knee-jerk reaction from some subscribers, stating, "We have observed a decline in viewing per account in Spain, where Netflix has already commenced its efforts to curb password sharing. The lingering question pertains to the overall impact on long-term subscriber numbers."
Notably, Spain exhibits a significantly higher rate of password sharing compared to the UK, with 39% of Netflix users openly sharing their login details.
Earlier this year, Netflix tactically postponed the wider implementation of its password sharing crackdown, shifting the timeline from the first quarter to the April-June period, owing to an observed "cancel reaction."


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