We asked Netflix why its new account-sharing rules hit Canada, but not the US

Feb 15 2023, 2:39 pm

Last week, Netflix announced new account-sharing rules for its Canadian subscribers, and they involve additional charges.

Now, each account is for one household only, and extra profiles can be bought for $7.99 a pop, with a total limit of two. Users would need to set a primary location, too.

“A Netflix account is intended for one household, so we’re rolling out new features in Canada to give you more control over your account — and yes, you can still watch Netflix while traveling!” Netflix said on Twitter on February 8.

Most Canadians were not happy about these changes, and the fact that it affected Canada and not the US added fuel to the fire. Many took to social media to air out their grievances about the “double standard.”

Daily Hive reached out to Netflix PR, asking the following questions:

“We noticed many social media comments and queries from Netflix subscribers about why the new password sharing rules apply to Canada, but have been held back in the US. What is the reason for this? We know Netflix has been experimenting in Latin America for a while. Is the streaming platform going to assess how these rules pan out in Canada before deciding if they will ever be implemented in the US?”

Netflix’s response was a brief one. Just like other products, its new account-sharing features will be launched in stages. Over the next few months, subscribers can expect a broader rollout.

Before it enforced the new rules in Canada, New Zealand, Portugal, and Spain, Netflix had been experimenting with lucrative account-sharing techniques in several Latin American countries. They proved successful enough for Netflix to apply password-sharing rules to Canada, but then, why not the US?

While the streaming platform did release a detailed statement on how this new policy would work, thousands were left confused. The statement did not appear to have enough tailored context for certain technical situations.

Since the changes were announced, several Netflix users have shared their experiences talking to Netflix’s customer service representatives, who don’t seem to have clear answers for them.

Some Smart TV owners with multiple homes wonder if they’re expected to take their TVs to the primary location every 31 days and log in from there to maintain access to Netflix. Others are worried about shared accounts split between parents at home and kids living on campus.

The outline for travellers was also a little blurry. “Members can still easily watch Netflix on their personal devices or log into a new TV, like at a hotel or holiday rental,” was all Netflix said in the account-sharing update.

The latter concern was a big one for Canadians. Many travel regularly or have family in different cities, and having to log in at a primary home each month sounds very intimidating.

Netflix said that the fact that millions of households were sharing accounts was impacting its ability to invest in new content. But in the third quarter of 2022 alone, the streaming platform reported US$7.8 billion in revenue— nearly CND$10.5 billion.

Netflix’s response could mean many things

Since Netflix did not mention the US in its email to us, it could potentially enforce account-sharing rules in other countries around the world before moving on to the States.

The response could also mean that Canada might be playing the role of a small mockup of the US market for Netflix. Depending on how things are received here, more, fewer, or newer measures around account sharing could be applied in the US in the near future.

“As always, we’ll refine these new features based on member feedback so that we continue to improve Netflix in the years ahead,” Netflix promised in its press release last week. Will it give into the pushback in Canada and back-pedal? Or should the rest of the world prepare for its turn to get stricter account-sharing rules?

For now, what we do know for certain is that more updates will drop this year.

Stay tuned.

National Trending StaffNational Trending Staff

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