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Netflix pilots plan aiming to combat password sharing

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Since its launch in 1997, Netflix has changed the world of film and television. In the past 25 years, the streaming giant has amassed over 220 million subscribers, across 190 countries. It’s safe to say that the platform had enviable success with customers, allowing millions to stream quality programmes and movies on demand.

However, the second quarter of 2022 saw Netflix take a real knock, as they lost nearly one million subscribers. While this was better than the estimated 2 million loss, their figures paled in comparison to rival Disney+, which celebrated a gain of 14.4 million new subscribers in its last quarter.

The rising competition from services such as Disney+, Amazon Prime Video, and Hulu, demonstrates that Netflix is no longer the strongest player in the market, and can’t rely on its subscriber count to increase and increase. 

What changes are being proposed?

In response to this huge loss in its subscriber base, Netflix has started to explore other ways of generating revenue, with plans including adverts and a crackdown on Netflix subscribers sharing their passwords. This idea was piloted in Southern America, where users were logged out of their accounts, and asked to pay an additional fee for password sharing.

Some subscribers may very well welcome the stricter measures regarding password sharing, as sharing accounts with other family members can mess with algorithms, particularly in cases when separate profiles aren’t set up. This can cause the account holder to receive suggestions for shows they’re simply not interested in. But there are ways to combat this, such as by following ExpressVPN’s guide to deleting your Netflix history, which gives step-by-step instructions on removing unwanted shows and movies from your watch history. 

Source: Unsplash

Generally, this crackdown has generated a wave of criticism, particularly from users in Argentina. If Netflix’s planned changes are to work, they might have to consider changing some of the ways in which their service operates to ensure that subscribers feel they are getting value for their money. 

How might the viewing experience change?

With most seasons released all at once, it’s easy for viewers to binge-watch the entire series in one go. The new season of Stranger Things, conversely, was released in two chunks. This means that fans were forced to stretch their viewing out over several weeks. This allowed conversation around the show to generate, allowing for more publicity, and potentially drawing more customers to the platform.

It is also worth considering the content itself. Back in the day, Netflix scored plenty of awards for shows like The Queen’s Gambit, and Orange is the New Black. Although shows such as Stranger Things and Ozark received many Emmy nominations in 2022, Hulu, Disney+, and Apple were hot on their tail. It might be time for Netflix to review the shows on offer and step-up their game to generate new content that will bring back subscribers.

One thing is for sure, introducing a mandated payment for sharing passwords is bound to be unpopular with most of the platform’s users, given it’s a feature that has remained free for so long. Addressing the pitfalls in their current offerings may be what’s needed to increase customer satisfaction, making way for them to introduce new measures, with a reduced risk of backlash.

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