By DEE-ANN DURBIN
AP Business Writer
Netflix has a plan to deal with rampant account sharing: a program that lets subscribers pay extra to share their account with people outside their household.
The streaming giant introduced paid sharing in Canada, New Zealand, Portugal and Spain on Wednesday. It was previously rolled out in multiple markets in Latin America.
While Netflix won’t say when paid sharing will come to other countries, some version of the plan is expected to be introduced in the U.S. in the next few weeks. Around one-third of Netflix’s subscribers live in the U.S. and Canada.
Netflix has more than 231 million paid subscribers in 190 countries. The Los Gatos, California-based company estimates that 100 million households are currently sharing their accounts with others, which impacts the company’s ability to invest in new programming.
“We’ve always made it easy for people who live together to share their Netflix account with features like profiles and multiple streams,” the company said in a blog post Wednesday. “While these have been hugely popular, they’ve also created confusion about when and how you can share Netflix.”
Starting Wednesday, Netflix said it will allow standard and premium subscribers in Canada, Spain, New Zealand and Portugal to set up an extra account for up to two people they don’t live with for an extra monthly fee. The monthly fee varies by country; in Canada, it’s 7.99 Canadian dollars, while in Portugal it’s 3.99 euros.
Netflix said it will also allow people who have been borrowing accounts to transfer their viewing history and other preferences to a new, paid subscription.
Netflix didn’t say what actions it will take if subscribers continue to share accounts outside their household. In a conference call with investors in January, Netflix co-CEO Greg Peters said the company is trying to be thoughtful and gradual in its rollout.
“It’s worth noting that this will not be a universally popular move, so there will current members that are unhappy with this move. We’ll see a bit of a cancel reaction to that,” he said. “We think of this as similar to what we see when we raise prices.”
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