Last month, Netflix offered a hint that it was cracking down on password sharing – and now it’s finally talked about what it’s up to.

A few weeks ago, a small number of Netflix users got an alert on their screen, telling them ‘if you don’t live with the owner of this account, you need your own account to keep watching’. Given that streaming services have been notably relaxed about letting us share passwords with friends, this was read as the first sign of some form of crackdown. There was no official announcement of the little trial, and it appeared to disappear just as quickly as it started.

Now, a few weeks later, we finally hear from the firm on what it’s been up to. Reed Hastings is the co-founder and co-CEO of the streaming giant, and he said in an earnings call this week that “we’ll test many things, but we would never roll out something that feels like ‘turning the screws’”.

Greg Peters, the COO and chief product officer at Netflix, added that the company is looking to ensure that “the people who are using a Netflix account – who are accessing it – are the ones that are authorised to do so”.

The trial is set to continue “iteratively”, whatever that means, and the strategic direction going forward will inevitably be determined by the results of said trial. It’ll also vary its approach on a country by country basis if necessary.

As Netflix’s growth finally slows, it’s expected that at some point it’ll do something to more stringently address password sharing. But at the moment, its plans are quiet and very close to its chest.

More as we hear it.


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