Netflix was the streamer that started it all. Hulu, Amazon Prime, HBO Max, Criterion Channel, Disney+, Shudder — they’d be nowhere without the company that started as a rent-by-mail DVD service. Nowadays, they’re not doing so hot. Reckless spending and fleeing subscribers have put the company in jeopardy, making them desperate. They’ve already created a cheaper ad-supported version, hoping to lure some folks back. Now they’re looking to do something they’ve long threatened.
A new report by The Wall Street Journal claims that Netflix brass are planning to put the kibosh on password sharing, in which one subscriber gives their login info to family and/or friends. It’s not an uncommon practice among their clientele. Indeed, the report says it will affect 100 million viewers, which is a lot of shared passwords. What’s more, the end of the good old days is coming awfully soon: The plan is reportedly coming into effect in early 2023.
Netflix co-CEO Ted Sarandos knows this won’t be popular. “Make no mistake, I don’t think consumers are going to love it right out of the gate,” he told investors earlier this month. And it is a gamble: Instead of throwing up their hands and signing up for their own subscription so they can keep streaming Seinfeld, many may simply bid adieu, turning to another streamer that doesn’t have such a draconian rule. Sure enough, when this plan goes into effect (if it does at all), it will make Netflix the only platform to restrict password sharing. Maybe they’ll have to give the next Knives Out sequel an actual theatrical run, just to keep the lights on.