Could Password Sharing Cause Crisis?

According to Netflix, more than 100 million households currently share passwords for the platform, but this will soon change.

Whether you are a long-time password sharer with friends and family, or keeping your login credentials to yourself, Netflix is officially setting up to crackdown on password sharing for the U.S. before the end of June.

While it might have been a bit premature, back in February the streaming giant announced that it had plans to stop password sharing. However, the platform chose to focus on select countries and push the broad rollout back to later in the year to create a better experience for users.

Upon announcement of the changes, Netflix users took to social media to call out the new policy and share their concerns. With over 100 million households affected by the switch, it is no surprise that the reaction was strong and left a bad taste in many user’s mouths. It also didn’t help that the initial announcement of the password crackdown was an accident according to Netflix, and the response to the media about the issue was unclear.

While it’s understandable for Netflix to change its approach about this due to missing out on a lot of money to password sharing, the platform at one time made password sharing a part of its marketing, previously tweeting, “Love is sharing a password,” back in 2017.

As for the new plan, it was launched earlier this year in Canada, New Zealand, Spain and Portugal. Once active everywhere, the plan will “offer the ability for borrowers to transfer their Netflix profile to their own account, and for sharers to manage their devices more easily and to create sub-accounts (“extra member”), if they want to pay for family or friends,” according to Netflix.

With backlash imminent as this big change comes and subscription costs rise, Netflix said in a quarter one report that it is prepared for cancellations in the beginning and membership is expected to grow once the new plan is rolled out and past subscribers go a few months without access.

As Netflix’s relationship with subscribers continues to weaken for various reasons, the role of PR will be vital in helping Netflix announce this monumental change to users, reconnect with lost audiences and to act proactively in case of a crisis.

Regardless of how Netflix chooses to approach these new practices, communication will be key to keeping streamers streaming and subscription numbers stable.

And this also begs the scary question, will other streaming services take a stance on password sharing, too?

Written by
at Apr 25, 2023

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