Around this time last year, Netflix started to wonder if customers might just be abusing their account privileges by sharing their login information with friends or family, and announced tighter measures to crack down on your old college roommate from mooching the newest episodes of Bridgerton under your name.
And when CivicScience dug into the data we saw, predictably, that most account moochers and sharers were younger people, though overall trends were generally plateauing (see related data from 2019 and 2020).
And as it stands, close to a quarter of people (23%) share accounts on Netflix without paying, a trend that data demonstrates is continuing to plateau.
However, like a mediocre TV show that doesn’t need a second season but somehow gets one, Netflix is back, this year considering charging users extra for password sharing.
And unsurprisingly, this effort to crack down on password sharing may be somewhat successful, as nearly half of the Gen Pop that has streaming subscriptions and shares them with people report that they would be less likely to share should they get charged for it.
This trend cuts fairly evenly across age demographics, with a slight bump among the oldest customers (interestingly, who also show a slight bump in likelihood NOT to stop password sharing, as compared to others).
But perhaps more interesting is data showing that users who watch Netflix often (at least a few times a week) are just about as likely as those who only watch a few times a year to cease any password sharing due to increased cost. Those in between the most frequent and least frequent watchers, apparently, are the most elastic in their willingness to spend more.
And this same interesting trend holds among those who are subscribed to the most and least amount of streaming services.
Likely, income plays a role in this polar dynamic, but so does preferred streaming service.
Consumers who primarily prefer Netflix are far more likely to change their password-sharing habits if they were charged extra, as compared to other major services. Perhaps Netflix is making an effective strategic decision with its consumer base.
However, there is a potential drawback, too.
Nearly half of the Gen Pop that has a streaming service subscription (45%) is “very likely” to altogether cancel that subscription as a result of the extra charges.
That trend, interestingly, is driven by those between 25 and 34, and the oldest demographics over 55, though ultimately not by large margins, indicating that the age of the subscriber isn’t necessarily correlated to sensitivity to the charge.
Instead, the price sensitivity seems to come more from more frequent watchers of streaming shows and movies, and those who only have one subscription service to begin with (this is perhaps again related to income).
More worrisome for Netflix, however, is that their customers, as opposed to other major streaming service subscribers, are significantly more likely to cancel their subscriptions for the extra charges.
And considering this information against the fact that rates of people password sharing over the last year have declined (or at least, the number of people who used to share, but don’t anymore has increased):
And it becomes an interesting question whether it’s worth it at all for Netflix to take the risk to begin charging customers more for the common practice of password sharing.
Either way, the rate of people using their ex’s account to watch content online has doubled since last year.
Maybe a more effective strategy for Netflix would be to launch a campaign to encourage newly single people to simply change their passwords if they want moochers to sign up for their own accounts.