Netflix has begun testing a new warning system for users who share accounts. The small test group confirms a prompt appears, asking users to either verify ownership or sign up for “your own account to keep watching.”
Historically, Netflix has been passive in the practice of sharing passwords. According to CNBC and Magid, a third of all Netflix users are borrowing a password. This relaxed stance is similar to HBO’s treatment of “Game of Thrones” piracy. Sharing was just a form of advertising and increased the series dominance in pop culture. As long as profits and stocks continued to rise, it was not a problem.
The company is larger than ever, but stocks may take a hit as society slowly returns to normal. During “stay-at-home” orders, Netflix outperformed Disney. There are also successful competitors applying pressure. HBO Max is thriving, Disney+ is releasing blockbuster series, and Peacock and Paramount are off to a great start. Even long-time rival Hulu has found its audience and remains strong. Netflix may be worried about their dominance and are attempting to secure their future.
“This test is designed to help ensure that people using Netflix accounts are authorized to do so,” Netflix said in a statement. They also told CNBS they run hundreds of tests a year. This test may not lead to any policy changes. After the quick social media reactions, Netflix will likely back off from this new idea. We will keep you updated as this story progresses.