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Netflix potentially provides difficulty


     Netflix is often seen as one of the founding fathers of streaming services. Due to their long history of success and innovation, they are very influential within the world of streaming. Whenever a new feature they add is successful, it is guaranteed that newer streaming services will quickly follow suit and make the same addition. However, this past month, Netflix has been making headlines due to their new controversial addition. A new way of ending password sharing. 

     Towards the end of January, Netflix accidentally leaked their new plan to end password sharing on their frequently asked questions page. This 


Graphic by Elliott Flinchbaugh

     This new plan consisted of requiring users to reconnect to their primary location’s wifi every 31 days. This means that when an account is created, the wifi it is made on will become the account’s primary location. If a user leaves said primary location, Netflix will ask that they reconnect to their primary location’s wifi after 31 days. It leads to an endless cycle of reconnecting and signing in. 

     Once this new policy was published on their website, it immediately caused an uproar. Netflix quickly rescinded its statement on Feb. 1, essentially claiming that they had rushed to publish it. Although, if you look at Netflix’s frequently asked questions page, they still have the controversial plan posted saying that, “A Netflix account is for people who live in a single household.” This highlights the idea that they are still working towards cracking down on password sharing, and are still likely to go with their original plan in the United States. Although, I believe this addition will stir up more controversy in the United States than it may have had in foreign countries.

     On Feb. 8, Netflix’s new password sharing rule began in Canada, New Zealand, Portugal and Spain. By cracking down on password sharing in these countries, they can use it as a test run to see how it may work in the United States. 

     However, Netflix has given the option to these countries to allow two or more household members to use the platform from outside of their account’s primary location, but it comes with a catch. Allowing outside household members to use a Netflix account will result in a fee and ultimately make a Netflix subscription cost more. Let us use Canada’s fee for outside sharing to give a price on what this might be in the United States. In Canadian dollars, the fee is $7.99. In United States currency, that is around $5.49. A premium Netflix account in the United States, which removes ads, gives high quality video and allows for downloads, is around $20 per month. With the addition of an outside sharing password fee, it means users may end up paying $26 per month. Multiply that $26 by 12 months, and it means users will pay $312 for Netflix a year. This big jump in price going from a yearly subscription that costs $240 to $312 is outrageous. It is a ridiculous increase in cost that I feel like more people would not want to pay. 

     In recent years, they have already had a significant loss of subscribers. They are losing a ton of money. I believe that this choice to end password sharing, and even add more charges, will end up with Netflix losing even more subscribers than they already have.

     Streaming services are typically used by a younger audience, like college students. These same college students often do not have the funds to afford their own Netflix subscriptions, and will use their parents’ for a period of time. If Netflix is to move forward with this policy, they will lose a huge portion of their audience. I personally do not watch Netflix that often anymore, and certainly will not be able to watch it once I go to college. They are harming their own business and alienating a huge market of viewers.

     Netflix is the founder of streaming services, but their time is running out. With higher costs and mediocre original content, they are losing everything that made them unique and worth the cost. Why would I pay an increase of $20 to $26 a month for Netflix when I get three better quality streaming platforms–Hulu, Disney Plus and ESPN– for the same price? If Netflix wants to fix their decline in subscribers, they need to focus less on password sharing, and more on what they have to offer.

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