Netflix has attempted to downplay speculation of its password-sharing crackdown following a week of global backlash.
Longstanding rumours that the streaming giant would look to stop users sharing one account gathered momentum in recent days after new information was uploaded to its help centre website in Australia and other countries.
News of the crackdown was met with a scathing response, with many users telling Forbes Australia they would simply cancel their account.
Now Netflix says its anti-password sharing measures were poster in error and have removed the rule of subscribers having to verify their home device every month.
“For a brief time, a help centre article containing information that is only applicable to Chile, Costa Rica, and Peru, went live in other countries. We have since updated it,” Netflix said in a statement.
What were the new measures?
One burning question is how Netflix intends to prove who is account sharing and who is just travelling or staying in a second home.
“To ensure that your devices are associated with your primary location, connect to the Wi-Fi at your primary location, open the Netflix app or website, and watch something at least once every 31 days,” the company says on its support page.
If you didn’t do this, your device would be blocked.
This means if you are a university student borrowing your parents’ Netflix plan on your laptop, you would need to travel home at least once a month and log in to Netflix on the WiFi.
What if you are using your parents account on your own TV? Well, you’re out of luck apparently.
What if you are travelling? Well, you can access a temporary code that will allow seven consecutive days without being blocked.
So has Australia managed to avoid the password crackdown? It seems unlikely.
Given the rollout is already being trialled in Latin America, and the wording in Netflix’s latest earning report, it’s likely only a matter of time until the password-sharing measures are rolled out globally – even if it does mean a short-term loss.
“As borrower households begin to activate their own standalone accounts and extra member accounts are added, we expect to see improved overall revenue, which is our goal with all plan and pricing changes,” Netflix said.