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: Netflix tests charging extra for password sharing

Freeloaders beware: Your days of freely accessing Netflix using your parents’ (or ex’s, or friend’s) password may be numbered.

After years of turning a blind eye on the practice, Netflix Inc.

is testing a new program to charge users who share their passwords with people outside of their households.

“So for the last year we’ve been working on ways to enable members who share outside their household to do so easily and securely, while also paying a bit more,” Chengyi Long, Netflix’s director of product innovation, said in a blog post Wednesday. “We recognize that people have many entertainment choices, so we want to ensure any new features are flexible and useful for members, whose subscriptions fund all our great TV and films.”

The test will begin in the coming weeks in three smaller markets — Chile, Costa Rica and Peru. Users who share their account passwords will be allowed to set up two “sub accounts” for people outside their households, for an extra fee — $2.99 a month in Costa Rica, for example — and those users may need a verification code to log in.

“We’ll be working to understand the utility of these two features for members in these three countries before making changes anywhere else in the world,” Long said, suggesting that if the program is successful, it could be rolled out on a wider basis.

In January, Netflix announced its first price hike in two years, raising the standard plan to $15.49 a month, up from $13.99 a month.

Netflix started cracking down on shared passwords last year, notifying some users that they need to open their own accounts if they want to watch.

While Netflix had about 222 million subscribers worldwide as of the end of 2021, a February 2020 survey by research company Magid found about one-third of streaming subscribers share their password with someone outside their household.

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