Netflix is testing a new method to address password sharing in Argentina, El Salvador, Guatemala, Honduras, and the Dominican Republic (as first reported by Bloomberg). A support page for Netflix in Honduras clearly states that the test will ask users to pay an additional fee if they have an account on a TV or TV-connected device in a location outside of their main home for more than two weeks use. Each additional house costs an additional 219 pesos per month, per house in Argentina ($1.17) and $2.99 everywhere else.
According to Netflix, subscriber accounts in the test areas have a primary “home” where they can access Netflix across all devices in the home, as well as travel and use Netflix on laptops and mobile devices elsewhere without an additional step. The test allows users to purchase additional “houses” that they can add or skip to use the service on TV screens.
The support page explains the process:
Add an extra home
Starting August 22, 2022, when you sign up for Netflix on a TV outside of your home, you’ll see the option to add the extra home for an additional monthly fee.
If you are only using this TV for a limited time, you can watch Netflix for up to 2 weeks at no extra charge as long as your account has not been previously used at this location. After that time, the TV will be locked unless you add the extra home.
The support pages also go into more detail on how Netflix defines a “home,” defined as “a physical place — like your house — where you can use your Netflix on any of your devices.”
The bottom of the page explains what Netflix does to detect usage in another “home”.
How Netflix recognizes houses
We use information such as IP addresses, device IDs and account activity.
If you’re using a device in your locked home and still see a message saying too many homes are using your account, you can:
Make sure the device is connected to the same internet connection as the other devices in the house.
Make sure the device is not connected to a VPN, proxy, or unblocker service.
Netflix states that your use of Netflix on a TV outside of your home while “travelling” is eligible for up to two weeks at no extra charge “as long as your account has not previously been used at that location.” This is allowed once per site per year.”
In these countries, Netflix is also working on a feature that will allow you to track where your account is being used and restrict access. If you have the Basic plan you can add an additional home, if you have the Standard plan you can add up to two, and with the Premium plan you can add up to three.
“It’s great that our members love Netflix movies and TV shows so much that they want to bring them to a wider audience,” said Chengyi Long, Netflix’s director of product innovation, in a statement. “But the widespread account sharing between households today is undermining our long-term ability to invest in and improve our service.”
This expands on Netflix’s existing test, which urges subscribers in Costa Rica, Peru and Colombia to pay extra for users living outside their home. Netflix currently charges users an additional CLP 2,380 ($2.52) in Chile, $2.99 in Costa Rica, and PEN 7.9 ($2.02) in Peru to add up to two additional “sub-accounts” to an existing account . The company also began experimenting with a profile transfer tool, designed to make it easier for someone to transfer their recommendations, watch history, and My List. This allows the platform to passively trick password sharers into opening a new account or opening a sub-account.
May a report from rest of the world showed confusion among subscribers who are part of the test in Peru. Some subscribers were reportedly unsure of what Netflix defines as “household,” while others were able to bypass a prompt to verify account ownership.
Netflix first announced it was testing ways to charge for password sharing in March, just weeks after announcing price increases for US customers. Netflix is also working on an ad-supported subscription option, and just last week said it would work with Microsoft to power its advertising. The company has clear reasons to look for new ways to generate revenue; in April, after a subscriber boom early in the pandemic, it announced in April that it had lost subscribers for the first time in more than a decade. The company’s next quarterly report will be released on Tuesday afternoon.
Update July 18 7:30pm ET: Added additional information from Netflix’s support pages about how the options work, how they appear to users who sign in on a TV or TV-connected device, how Netflix defines a “home,” and what information Netflix tracks to identify where and how Subscribers are using the Service.
Disclosure: The edge recently produced a series with Netflix.