Netflix is starting to crack down on account sharing — what you need to know

Someone slightly off camera is looking at the Netflix logo on a TV
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Netflix is about to debut its latest weapon in its ongoing battle against account-sharing: asking for more money. Yes, the big red streaming machine is more than aware of one of the most popular tips and tricks for saving money on Netflix, and it's continuing to experiment with ways to fight this behavior.

Variety just broke the news that an upcoming test conducted in Chile, Costa Rica and Peru will tell Netflix users that they can continue to share their accounts if just just pay a little more. How much more? Costa Ricans would spend an extra $2.99 USD per account (pricing is 2380 CLP in Chile and 7.9 PEN in Peru).

This message is justified because of language in Netflix's terms of service which states that your account "may not be shared with individuals beyond your household." And if you don't already know, some folks are defining "household" in a looser way than Netflix does. 

We're guessing that Netflix won't slam this message up the first time you log into a new residence, but it would if repeated use of the same account in far-off buildings takes place. 

Netflix is going to offer users in this test the ability to add up to two "subsidiary" accounts for users who don't live in the same household as the person who pays for the account. The accounts are meant to make it easier to legally stream Netflix, and not pay a full account's worth.

This follows a 2021 test that saw Netflix pushing users to verify that they're in the same household. That test was a little more forceful, asking users to verify they're the account holder with a code that would be sent out or simply start a 30-day free trial for a new account.

Analysis: Netflix is pushing cash and convenience

Typically, we've seen Netflix's current method for fighting account sharing in the form of asking users to re-log into their account on a device. And, sure, that can get plenty annoying. It sounds like this new strategy is akin to "hey, are you tired of keying your info in over and over again?" 

Variety notes that the test markets will also be getting the verification code treatment, so this is basically a ramping up of their previous actions. 

Netflix's Chengyi Long, director of product innovation, is quoted as saying "We’ve always made it easy for people who live together to share their Netflix account, with features like separate profiles and multiple streams in our Standard and Premium plans," before noting that those streams are different from the account-sharing in question. "Accounts are being shared between households," Long notes, before blaming this for "impacting [Netflix's] ability to invest in great new TV and films for our members." 

Which is another way of saying "Netflix would have more money to make new shows if you'd just pay."

Interestingly enough, Netflix's crackdown on password-sharing might actually be working. Looking for what to watch next? Apple TV Plus looks like it has another hit coming, so check out our guide on how to watch WeCrashed online. If you have Disney Plus? We've got a guide to the latest shows to hit the service, with instructions for how to watch the Marvel Netflix shows in order.

Henry T. Casey
Managing Editor (Entertainment, Streaming)

Henry is a managing editor at Tom’s Guide covering streaming media, laptops and all things Apple, reviewing devices and services for the past seven years. Prior to joining Tom's Guide, he reviewed software and hardware for TechRadar Pro, and interviewed artists for Patek Philippe International Magazine. He's also covered the wild world of professional wrestling for Cageside Seats, interviewing athletes and other industry veterans.