OPINION: Netflix’s new password policy is poorly-timed

Opinion’s editor discusses the new password policy Netflix launched, photo courtesy of Wikimedia Commons.

Zoe Hill
Opinions Editor

Netflix is cracking down on non-subscribers using other people’s accounts to access their streaming platform. 

A new feature rolled out to a limited number of Netflix users to test the usability of it. The feature shows a pop-up message that asks the user whether or not they are paying for the subscription or living within the household of the subscriber. The streaming service requires the user to verify your answer by entering a code texted or emailed to the subscriber. 

For my household, we have been using Netflix for years. I genuinely remember picking out two DVDs a week online and waiting two days for them to arrive in the mail.

The greatest worry at the time was whether or not the disk would be scratched or cracked. My family would watch the movie or show and then seal up the return envelope and mail it off. Back in 2008, bringing a tv show would take a couple of months and a dozen envelopes. 

Since going to UD, I have been using my mom’s Netflix account, along with all of the other streaming services we use. I am logged into it on my TV that my entire apartment uses to watch movies and shows.

Under Netflix’s new feature, technically, we could not continue to use the Netflix account. While I know that my mom would easily just message me the code for the verification, the joy of Netflix is muted with this upcoming feature. 

As college students, I would bet that most of us share someone’s Netflix account. In Netflix’s terms and services, it says that accounts “may not be shared with individuals beyond your household.” It is clearly a violation of the terms and services that we have all agreed to, but the sharable aspect of the platform is fundamental to Netflix. 

In 2021, there are so many streaming services to choose from, each with its own benefits. The past few years have brought about seemingly every company and channel’s own version of Netflix and Hulu.

Disney+ launched in late 2019, AppleTv+ came about around the same time, CBS All Access rebranded to Paramount+ earlier this year, NBC launched Peacock in 2020 and HBO Max started its service around this time last year. 

Of course, you cannot have just one. Each one of the services locked in its signature moves and shows by severing licensing agreements with third-party global platforms like Netflix.

Disney+ exclusively houses Star Wars, Marvel and most of our favorite childhood shows. Peacock removed The Office from Netflix, and Friends moved to HBO Max. Just having the essentials there, you would be spending almost $30 a month. 

During this pandemic, the only thing there is to do is watch Netflix.

Now is probably the worst time for Netflix to finally enforce password-sharing restrictions. Netflix has also continuously upped the cost of the service without really giving quality content in return.

Because of the plethora of streaming choices, choosing Netflix over the rest is not really appealing anymore. All of my favorite shows and movies are scattered across the platforms, and it is too expensive to pay for them all, let alone buy my own Netflix subscription.

This would only be justifiable to me if Netflix decided to lower its subscription prices with this new feature. New subscriptions would more than cover the subscription differences. Alternatively, creating better content and acquiring sought-after titles would help justify the policy and price. 

The pandemic has made spending time together crucial. Netflix has looked the other way about password sharing for years now. They can surely hold off now that we are locked away in our homes. 

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