Netflix’s promised ad-supported tier and crackdown on password sharing could launch by the end of this year, with the streaming giant reportedly accelerating its timeline on the moves after losing subscribers last quarter. People have used their double screen access benefit and shared their account details with other people in their family and friends. Netflix wants to start charging these additional users with a small access fee, which should be detailed in the coming months.
Netflix has mostly customised its plans in different markets. But in the West, it has continued to charge a higher fee. While in emerging markets like India, where the growth potential and the customer demographics are different, Netflix offers its streaming plans for as low as Rs 149 per month. Netflix has long maintained that it would never add commercials to the service, which was a major differentiator between Netflix and traditional cable TV at the dawn of the streaming era.
Netflix’s focus on screen allotments to differentiate its subscription tiers led many customers to believe password sharing would never be actively discouraged, but a cratering stock price can force companies to go back on years of precedent. The note sent to employees confirms there will be additional fees for password sharing around the same time ads appear, but it’s not clear how Netflix will know if you’re just using your account in multiple places or if you’ve given it to someone else. The company will be walking a tightrope as it balances revenue concerns with the risk of alienating users. Many long-time customers will no doubt point out Netflix’s tendency to cancel series after one or two seasons has already pushed them to the brink of canceling.