Netflix Could Add New Feature To Prevent Password Sharing

The video streaming firm Netflix is testing a new feature that could disallow sharing of password between users as the company rolls out alerts to users to verify whether they are authorized to watch on the account. If they are able to prove their authorization, they would be able to keep watching,

“This test is designed to help ensure that people using Netflix accounts are authorized to do so,” a Netflix spokesperson said in a statement. Accounts “may not be shared with individuals beyond your household,” says the terms of service of the company for its users.

For a shared Netflix account, users would be asked to verify the account by confirming using a text or email sent to the account holder, when a user selects their profile on such an account. The company also gives the opportunity to users to verify later. In that case however the pop-up will show up again at an undetermined later time. Viewers will be prompted by the company to set up a new account if they are unable to confirm their authorization to watch.

However the company has confirmed that this new feature is just a test and is being rolled out to a select limited number of users who watch on the Netflix TV app. This new feature from the pioneer of the streaming industry comes at a time when its global subscriptions have increased significantly during the pandemic as people were forced to stay back home and chose to move to streaming services for entertainment as they outdoor entertainment was disallowed due to pandemic restrictions.

The company reported last month that its user number had reached 200 million. The share price of the company has risen by almost 50 per cent compared to prices in March last year. But with the roll out of Covid-19 vaccine, easing of social distancing and travel restrictions and life slowly returning back to normal in 2021, this year can be a challenging one for the company in terms of keeping up with the momentum of adding new users.

The password sharing issue has been a problem for companies in the video streaming business for years, including Netflix. Companies in the industry have been debating whether to take action against such password sharing or not bother at all with trying to prevent it.  

The company was focused on preventing password sharing but was looking to find ways to achieve that, Netflix’s chief product officer had said on a earnings call in 2019.

(Adapted from CNN.com)

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