Uh-oh: it looks like the Netflix password sharing crackdown is working

Subscription numbers leap as Netflix starts cracking down on account sharing in the US

Netflix password
(Image credit: Twitter)

The Netflix password sharing block is in force in the US, and if you're a subscriber hoping it'll be a disaster so the same feature doesn't come to the UK the news isn't good. According to figures given to the Wall Street Journal, Netflix US has seen a massive jump in new subscriptions since the block went into effect.

The crackdown is a reversal of Netflix's previous "love is sharing a password" approach (pictured above), which helped drive growth: now it's more interested in money, and the block on account sharing is designed to prevent people in different households from sharing the same account. 

Has the Netflix password sharing crackdown worked?

That's what the figures indicate. The numbers, from monitoring firm Antenna, say that in the first six days of the new policy Netflix "had the 4 single largest days of US user acquisition in the 4.5 years that Antenna has been measuring the streaming service."

That's not to say that some people didn't cancel their subscriptions altogether. Many did. But the numbers weren't as big as the numbers of new sign-ups: on average, Netflix grabbed 73K daily sign-ups over those six days, an increase of 102%. That's more sign-ups than Netflix experienced during the first US COVID lockdowns.

Netflix claims that over 100 million households were sharing accounts, and its new policy now means that family sharing is limited to the people sharing the same roof: if your kids are at college or uni, you'll need to pay more. Netflix does enable you to use your account in two places if you have a second home or if you're travelling, but that's about it when it comes to sharing. In the US, it's an extra $7.99 per person a month to share a standard or premium account, which is $1 a month more than an ad-funded Netflix subscription, and you're limited to two extra people on your Premium subscription.

For families like mine – I co-parent, so my kids live in two places – we're collateral damage; we're one household in two postcodes, so although we're not trying to cheat Netflix we don't fit the criteria for single-household subscriptions. Adding both of my kids to a Premium plan, assuming US/UK price parity, will more than double the cost, so Netflix won't be the best streaming service for my family. I really hope other streamers don't follow suit.

Carrie Marshall

Writer, musician and broadcaster Carrie Marshall has been covering technology since 1998 and is particularly interested in how tech can help us live our best lives. Her CV is a who’s who of magazines, newspapers, websites and radio programmes ranging from T3, Techradar and MacFormat to the BBC, Sunday Post and People’s Friend. Carrie has written more than a dozen books, ghost-wrote two more and co-wrote seven more books and a Radio 2 documentary series. When she’s not scribbling, she’s the singer in Glaswegian rock band HAVR (havrmusic.com).