Netflix has announced a ban on account sharing, whereby several people share a subscription, in an attempt to turn more than 100 million stowaway viewers into paid subscribers. The company is taking action against account sharing in Germany and Austria, with warnings issued to those who share their account or password outside their household. Devices or even entire profiles could eventually be banned if accounts continue to be shared.
To encourage viewers to sign up for their own subscription, Netflix has enabled users to add “additional members” to their account for a fee. These members may be located outside the household, but only one person can use the account at a time and only one profile can be created.
Private VPN tunnels could be used to circumvent the Netflix restrictions, but app developers may use other detection systems to check where the client is located. Netflix spokesman said that after tests in Latin America, Canada, and Southern Europe, the company is prepared to deal with such borderline cases and avoid any inconvenience to customers.
Netflix does expect some users to unsubscribe in response to the account sharing ban. However, the company hopes that many more people will subscribe to the service, compensating for the losses. The ban has already taken effect in some countries resulting in an increase in new subscribers for the service.