On streaming platforms, difficult fight against account sharing

The dissemination of passwords between users represents a huge shortfall. Netflix, hitherto tolerant, wants to tax the subscribers who use it and becomes the first to adopt a policy in the matter.


What if the famous “Can you send me your Netflix codes?” Live his last months? In any case, this is the wish of the American streaming leader. On March 17, the platform announced, in a press release, wanting to tax consumers who connect with the codes of other people. In the test state since that date in several countries in Latin America, the measure could apply to French accounts, entrusts management. However, no date has been set as its implementation is complex.

The stakes are high for Netflix. If the platform has 220 million subscribers worldwide, 100 million users use the password of a loved one. They only applied the recommendations of the American group, which had encouraged this practice in its early days, as evidenced by a tweet of March 10, 2017: “Love is to share its password.” Today Hui, the context has changed. Competitors like Prime Video, MyCanal, Disney +, OCS and HBO settled, and the pioneer of the sector recorded a loss of 970,000 subscribers between the end of March and the end of June. These millions of users benefiting from shared accounts therefore represent a significant potential market.

But how to spot them? For the time being, the American giant explains using the IP address of televisions to detect the presence of several households on the same account. A method still under discussion that should be refined in the coming months, it is said at Netflix. For the moment, nomadic devices such as phones, tablets and laptops escape all control.

Prevention message

Difficult, with such an arsenal, to differentiate the sharing deemed illegal from legal sharing between members of the same family, for example. If a parent subscribes to a premium subscription for the whole family, how to do if a member will live in another city? What’s going on for a divorced child? What if users go on vacation? Netflix argues that all the hypotheses are on the table, without giving details on the possible detection methods.

“For this to work, it would be necessary to set up a gigantic after-sales service which would deal with situations on a case-by-case basis,” says Julien Pillot, professor of digital economics at the National Institute of High Economic and Commercial Studies . On the competitors’ side, no clear strategy is emerging for the moment. MyCanal, which has 21.8 million subscribers worldwide, is content to display a prevention message and cut the image every quarter of an hour in the event of excessive simultaneous connections.

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/Media reports.