In the latest blow to exes and family members mooching off of Netflix accounts everywhere, the streamer has launched its latest anti-password sharing feature.
Called “Manage Access and Devices,” the new feature allows members to view all devices currently logged into their accounts, as well as the general city the device is located in, and log out specific devices. The feature can be found on users’ account settings page and is available on web browsers and iOS and Android windows worldwide.
In a blog post, Netflix attributes the timing of the feature’s rollout to the beginning of the holiday season. According to Netflix, this “much-requested feature” can help users who log into their account at a hotel or a friend’s house log out quickly and efficiently.
“With the busy holiday season just around the corner, many of our members will be on the move and watching Netflix wherever they are traveling to see family and friends,” the blog post reads. “Logging in to your account while at a hotel or even your friend’s house is easy and intuitive, but lots of people then forget to log out.”
Although that might be one way to use the feature, its other un-advertised use is that it can effectively kick off anyone using your account from their device if they don’t have your password memorized. That way, the feature acts as the latest initiative against password sharing, where multiple people use one person’s Netflix account.
Password sharing, which violates clauses in the streamer’s terms of service stating that accounts can only be used by people who belong to the same household, has been a significant problem for the streamer, with estimates that over 100 million nonpaying households are using shared passwords to access Netflix content. In the wake of several setbacks for the streamer — most notably the loss of around 1.2 million subscribers during the first two quarters of 2022 and the resulting stock price fall — the streamer has introduced several features to weed out the password sharers among their userbase.
March saw the streamer roll out a feature in Chile, Costa Rica, and Peru allowing members to share accounts with people outside of their households in exchange for an extra fee. That test also allowed users to transfer profiles to separate accounts, or “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. Most recently, in October, the streamer launched a feature that allows users to transfer their profile settings and other data to a completely new account, one that they pay for.
While all of those previously announced features are slight nudges to get nonpaying customers to pony up some money, the Manage Access feature is more aggressive, giving account owners the ability to essentially kick profiles off the service. Presumably, Netflix hopes that once someone gets logged off, they’ll make their own account to access the streamer’s content. Whether that’ll succeed — and if it’ll help continue Netflix’s recovery from its slide at the beginning of the year — remains to be seen.