Netflix’s Crackdown Is Dominating My Family Group Chat

A family member recently sent out a group text about suddenly not being able to access their Netflix account. After a bit of back and forth, we realized they’d been “borrowing” the account of another family member . . . for years. Netflix has been cracking down on account sharing by people in different households, which resulted in this family member’s access being revoked. I don’t watch much TV and hadn’t been following this, but this time I got a front-row view.

The whole situation was funny to me given how many years this had been going on, but then I realized something. Netflix had been providing immense value to two households in my family. They were receiving only 50% of the revenue they should have been receiving. Said differently, they were capturing a fraction of the value they were providing.

Netflix is a huge technology company. I assume they’ve known about this sharing issue for many years and have had a fix in mind. I wonder if they waited to deploy it until their growth began to slow, or if another catalyst is driving this crackdown. In the case of my family member, they got them hooked on the value of the service and original content. Now they’re forcing them to pay for that value. Essentially, they’re forcing my family member and everyone else who’s been on a multiyear free trial to put up or shut up. Become a paying customer or stop using the service.

As of the last group chat messages, my family member was in get-my-Netflix-working-again-ASAP mode. Translation: they’ll end up creating their own account and happily begin paying for the service.

I don’t follow Netflix, but I imagine this will have a material impact on their top-line revenue at some point (assuming it doesn’t drastically increase churn). It’ll likely ruffle some feathers in the short term, but I like this move. They’re making sure they’re being compensated for the value they provide.