Netflix’s new rules for account sharing


Leah Van Weelden

Netflix announced back in February a new policy that will limit the number of users on a single account.

Netflix’s Director of Product Innovation Chengyi Long released a statement on Feb. 8 discussing the changes coming to the platform in 2023. Among other things, Long touched on what issues have occurred regarding account sharing among members.

Today, over 100 million households are sharing accounts — impacting our ability to invest in great new TV and films,” Long said. “Our focus has been on giving members greater control over who can access their account.” 

Since the beginning of 2023, Netflix has been in search of better ways to secure account privacy. This helps to reduce the risk of accounts becoming compromised through things like password sharing. As a result, a new policy has been introduced for members with existing accounts.

The first step taken by the company was to set up a primary location for the account. This ensures that only residents of this specific household will have access to it. The next step towards account security was adding the ability for members to monitor who uses their account from their mobile devices.

“Members can now easily manage who has access to their account from our new Manage Access and Devices page,” Long said.

Netflix has also made modifications to their premium subscription, giving members the option to buy extra members so that they may also have access to the account.

Although these steps were placed in order to secure existing accounts, the effects of having no access outside of the account’s primary location will impact extended family members and college students. Now that members have the option to set a primary location for the account, students who live on campus or away from home will no longer be able to access the account.

A study conducted in 2022 at Horowitz Research showed that 71 percent of participants aged 18-24 use Netflix regularly. Among other streaming platforms including Hulu, Tubi and Prime Video, Netflix is the most used service by college students in the United States today.

For some students, like sophomore Kaiya Mckie, there are some concerns regarding the new Netflix policy about being able to access the service in the future.

“My family has used Netflix for the past 15 years, ever since they were handing out DVDs,” Mckie said. “Since I’m a college student I’m on my family’s account and can’t afford to pay for my own every month.”

She explains that her inability to pay for her own Netflix subscription is due to the platform’s increased prices per month. Netflix last raised their monthly prices in October of 2020, from $13.99 to $15.49 per month for a standard subscription. Netflix also gives options for a premium subscription also with an increased price from $17.99 to $19.99.

Mckie believes the platform’s new sharing policy will create conflicts with existing accounts.

“Since a lot of people use other streaming services they wills just ditch Netflix completely. For one, the shows on Netflix currently aren’t even that good compared to other platforms. Technically, this could help those other streaming services if people began to delete their Netflix accounts,” Mckie said.

Reports made by U.S. News confirms that Netflix remains as #1 for most used streaming services in the U.S., as platforms like Disney+, Hulu and Peacock trail behind. Depending on how much this policy impacts existing users, it could dethrone Netflix’s status as a streaming service giant.