Talk about a bummer for the start of the new year: Netflix will start charging extra for accounts with multiple users in 2023. Moochers, get ready to be kicked off your ex-boyfriend’s mom’s or cousin’s friend’s hairdresser’s Netflix account. We knew this day would come eventually, but I didn’t think it would be so soon.
In a letter to shareholders published in mid-October, Netflix stated that it’s “landed on a thoughtful approach to monetize account sharing” and that it will “begin rolling this out more broadly starting in early 2023.” It says that current borrowers will be able to transfer their profiles to new accounts or sharers can create sub-accounts to continue paying for others. Either way, borrowers won’t be able to continue watching for free under someone else’s account.
Netflix has had a rocky year in terms of subscriptions. It lost subscribers in the first two quarters of the year. Although it returned to gaining them in the third quarter, that’s still a funky little blip for a company that’s basically been growing in subscribers since it was started.
As a result, the company made some changes including layoffs, introducing a basic subscription plan that includes ads, and yes, experimenting with ways to monetize account sharing (a.k.a., being the biggest buzzkill).
We’re still not sure exactly when Netflix will roll out the new charge, or how much it’ll even be. In some Central and South American countries where it’s being tested out, the fee is $2.99/month, so it may be similar to that.
We also haven’t gotten many more specifics on how exactly the charge will work. How will Netflix know when we’re sharing accounts? Will each user get only one profile? Will there be loopholes to discover? Does Netflix know what a sneaky girlboss mastermind I am? So many questions.
It seems we’re all in agreement: sharing is caring and we don’t want to stop. Whether or not this tactic results in increased profits for Netflix remains to be seen, but I’m betting that the company underestimates some customers’ stubbornness. Our generation’s hobbies include binge-watching TV series and hating on corporations, and I expect more of both in 2023. Happy new year, and enjoy your last few weeks of freeloading before the world becomes slightly less binge-able.