It’s not me, it’s Netflix.
People are steeling themselves to have that awkward conversation with friends and relatives as Netflix prepares to crack down on password sharing in the U.S.
The popular streaming service will soon begin charging customers extra each month to share their Netflix accounts with someone outside their household.
So how do you break it to your mooching Netflix pals that it’s over?
“Blame Netflix, loud and clear. Blame them again and blame them a third time,” said Jeffrey Hall, a University of Kansas associate professor in communication studies and an expert on friendship.
“It’s not like I’m kicking you off my account because I’ve got someone else or because I don’t like you anymore. It’s Netflix that is doing it. And we know that in relationships, who’s to blame makes a big difference.”
Sharing resources with friends and family is commonplace in cultures throughout the world, Hall says. “When it’s no extra cost to me, sharing with you is a sign of friendship.”
According to a Parks Associates’ 2022 survey, 40% of consumers in U.S. internet households share credentials or use shared credentials, up from 27% in 2019.
Family friends share their Disney account with Hall so his two kids can watch children’s programming. If Disney follows Netflix’s lead, Hall says, he will thank his friends for their generosity and let them off the hook.
“You as my friend would not oblige me to take on extra costs because that’s actually contraindicated by friendship,” Hall said. “You’re not going to be like, ‘Hey Jeff, pay for my access so I keep getting it for infinity.’ That’s not what friends do to each other.”
As subscriber growth has slowed, Netflix is looking to squeeze a few more bucks out of freeloaders. The streaming service is under growing pressure as competitors proliferate and people return to their pre-pandemic viewing habits such as commuting and travel.
About 100 million people watch Netflix using someone else’s account, according to a company estimate.
So Netflix is starting to restrict streaming access to people who live in the same household. Subscribers who want to share their accounts with people outside their household will have to pay for that access or lose it.
Netflix has introduced the new restrictions in countries such as New Zealand, Portugal and Spain and says changes are coming soon elsewhere.
Netflix executives say they know the new policy will be unpopular and some people may cancel their accounts. It hopes to lure them back with quality content.
But times aren’t easy for many. In Canada, Netflix subscribers are being asked to pony up an extra $8 a month – $96 a year – when high inflation and interest rates are already squeezing household budgets.
Canadians have taken to social media to complain about the impact the new restrictions are having on kids away at college, retired parents and unemployed friends.
Having conversations about money can be touchy. But the cornerstones of friendship are kindness and forgiveness, Hall says.
“If you approach these conversations that way, they will probably go fine,” Hall said.
Janice McCabe, associate professor of sociology at Dartmouth College and author of “Connecting in College: How Friendship Networks Matter for Academic and Social Success,” says you should first approach friends and relatives by affirming your connection and letting them know how much you value the relationship.
“Then you can get into the technical details: Because of these new rule changes, you’re not going to be able to keep using the account,” McCabe said.
You can also use the Netflix policy as an opportunity to propose spending more time together along the lines of: “Since we can’t keep sharing how we were, let’s find a time to watch our favorite show together.”
“This will create more in-person connection, as you’re watching the show, discussing the show, and planning these watch parties/get-togethers,” McCabe said. “It could even be a way to reunite a friendship or friendship group that hadn’t recovered from the disruption of COVID or to create a new tie if you’ve been craving more connection.”
Netflix crackdown on password sharing: How to cut off account … – USA TODAY
It’s not me, it’s Netflix.