Netflix is now taking action against account sharing in Germany and Austria
Netflix has been threatening this for months, and now it’s becoming a reality: the streaming service wants to take action against users who share their accounts with other people outside the household. Netflix has been doing this in southern European countries for a few months, and now it is also affecting Germany, Austria and the US home market of the streaming service. A total of over 100 countries are said to be affected.
Netflix began emailing its customers in Germany about the stricter procedure on Tuesday evening. In it, the streaming service emphasizes the possibility of adding an “additional member” to the existing subscription for an additional charge – these are people who are allowed to use the account even if they live outside the household.
Netflix informs customers in Germany and Austria by email about tightened action against account sharing.
Additional members for 5 euros per month
Adding an additional member costs 5 euros per month in Germany and Austria. In the US, Netflix even charges $8 a month for it. How many additional members you can add to the subscription depends on the subscription level: In the standard subscription you can share the account with only one external person, in the premium subscription with two people.
Additional members get their own profile, account and password. However, your membership will be paid for by the person who invited this additional member to share, Netflix writes on a support page. Additional members therefore have to live with some restrictions: They can only use Netflix on one device at a time via their account and can only download titles to one smartphone or tablet for offline use. Additional members can also only create one profile.
A household is an internet connection
It’s still not entirely clear exactly how Netflix intends to tackle account sharing. Subscribers must define a main city per app. Devices that connect to the Internet there are considered household devices and can therefore use Netflix without restrictions.
In order to set up the household, Netflix apparently requires a television: “Devices that use your Netflix account via the same Internet connection as this television automatically belong to your Netflix household,” Netflix writes in a support document. The configuration process must also be started on a TV. What this means for households that do not own a television is unclear.
Basically, Netflix accepts all devices that are on the same network as the main device (the TV). Devices that are connected to other WiFi networks or use external IP addresses can be verified manually, according to the document. Netflix allows tolerance for vacations and travel: Subscribers should be able to watch the streaming service without restrictions. Exactly where the time limit for this holiday tolerance lies remains to be seen.
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Despite opposition from users, Netflix has seen this strategy as a success so far. A “cancel reaction” was first noticed in the affected markets because users canceled their subscriptions because of the restrictions. In the long term, however, according to Netflix, the “stowaways” create their own accounts, while others book the option for additional members within their account.
In Canada, where Netflix has been restricting account sharing since February, the number of paying users has also fallen in the short term. According to Netflix, it now has more paying users there than before the account-sharing ban was implemented.
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