Netflix passwords: How many people can use the same account and are the rules changing?

Streaming platform may crack down on users sharing passwords in future

Sabrina Barr
Tuesday 22 October 2019 21:45 BST
Netflix exec Greg Peters speaks out on password sharing

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Netflix may be looking to limit the number of times its subscribers are able to share their passwords with friends and family, it has recently been reported.

While only a limited number of devices can be used to watch television and films on the streaming platform, password sharing can allow multiple individuals to use the same Netflix account, circumventing Netflix's business model, according to which each household needs to have its own account.

So how may Netflix change its password sharing rules? Here is everything you need to know:

How many people can use the same account on Netflix?

Netflix currently allows each account to include up to five individual profiles.

Each profile can be tailored to that particular individual's tastes, such as by personalising their television and film recommendations, playback settings and desired maturity level.

The streaming platform also offers three different subscription plans, which dictate how many devices can be used to stream Netflix from the same account simultaneously.

These plans are: the basic plan for £5.99 a month, which only allows streaming in standard definition on one device at a time; the standard plan for £8.99 a month, which allows streaming on up to two devices in high definition at the same time; and the premium plan for £11.99 a month, which allows streaming on up to four devices in high and ultra high definition at the same time.

The plans also allow Netflix users to download television shows and films on the same number of devices permitted for simultaneous streaming.

While the rules as to how many profiles can be used on one Netflix account are clear-cut, the question of how many people can log onto the streaming platform using the same password is not as clear.

How many times can users share their passwords?

The rule regarding how many digital devices can be used to watch Netflix at the same time doesn't prevent multiple individuals from using a subscriber's username and password to log into their account.

If someone shares their login information with a vast number of people, as long as they don't all try and go on Netflix at once, they can all have full access to the account.

This streaming hack can therefore provide an immeasurable number of people who do not pay for Netflix with access to the streaming platform.

Nonetheless, according to a recent statement delivered by Netflix's chief product officer, this could change in the near future.

How may Netflix change its password sharing rules?

While taking part in an interview about Netflix's earnings for the third quarter of 2019, Greg Peters, chief product officer of the firm, was asked about how the company plans to address password sharing without "alienating a certain portion of [its] user base".

Mr Peters said the streaming platform is continuing to monitor the act of password sharing, stating: "We're looking at the situation."

"We'll see those consumer-friendly ways to push on the edges of that," the chief product officer said, adding that the firm does not yet have "big plans" to announce with regards to the subject.

The Daily Dot hypothesised that Netflix could clamp down on password sharing by enforcing a rule concerning users' IP addresses.

An IP address identifies the devices that are using the same computer network.

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According to a study conducted by research company Magid in August 2018, 35 per cent of millennials share their passwords for streaming platforms.

Just under a fifth of Generation Xers do the same, as do 13 per cent of Baby Boomers.

The research company found that overall, nine per cent of streaming platform users engage in password sharing.

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