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It’s Not a Netflix Password Crackdown — It’s a Profile Transfer!

The new feature, which allows people to transfer data from their profile onto a new account, has begun its rollout.

Mr. Harrigan’s Phone. (L-R) Jaeden Martell as Craig and Donald Sutherland as Mr. Harrigan in Mr. Harrigan’s Phone. Cr. Nicole Rivelli/Netflix © 2022

Jaeden Martell as Craig and Donald Sutherland as Mr. Harrigan in Netflix’s “Mr. Harrigan’s Phone”

Nicole Rivelli/Courtesy of Netflix

In its campaign against password sharing, Netflix has begun the global rollout of a feature that allows users to transfer profile data to a new account. In other words, if you’re using a shared account (naughty, naughty) that contains your profile with its rich viewing history and saved settings, Profile Transfer will let you move that data to a new account — one that you pay for.

The Profile Transfer rollout begins on Monday and account owners will receive an email notifying them when the feature is available.

“People move. Families grow. Relationships end. But throughout these life changes, your Netflix experience should stay the same,” Netflix’s blog post announcing the feature reads. “Today, we’re launching Profile Transfer, a feature that lets people using your account transfer a profile — keeping the personalized recommendations, viewing history, My List, saved games, and other settings — when they start their own membership.”

The feature can be selected on a user’s profile page via the dropdown menu found by hovering on the profile icon. Once selected, Netflix will instruct the user to create a new profile with its own associated email address and password. Account owners also have the option to disable Profile Sharing in their account settings.

Netflix spent the last year testing features that curb password sharing, where account owners share a Netflix password with multiple people. The practice violates clauses in the streamer’s terms of service stating that accounts can only be used by people who belong to the same household, and the streamer estimates that over 100 million non-paying households use shared passwords to access their content.

March saw the streamer roll out a feature in Chile, Costa Rica, and Peru allowing members to share accounts with people outside of their household in exchange for an extra fee. That test also allowed users to transfer profiles to separate accounts or the “extra member” accounts. A separate test was launched in five other Latin American countries this August, allowing account owners to add different households to their account for a lower price than a full membership.

Netflix’s move to shut down password sharing follows several setbacks from the streamer, which lost around 1.2 million subscribers during the first two quarters of 2022. The subscriber loss resulted in falling stock and several rounds of layoffs to multiple departments. Recent research from Moffett Nathanson indicated that the streamer had largely maxed out its potential number of subscribers in the U.S. marketplace.

Netflix made the announcement on October 17, the day before it will announce its third quarter 2022 results after market close.

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