Robert Schumacher | Writer
Netflix surprised users last week by announcing that they will finally start to crack down on users sharing accounts. The company has already started a test of this feature in Peru, Coasta Rica, and Chile but plans to expand it to all regions. For accounts that are sharing a password across multiple households or addresses, Netflix is charging an additional fee to add “sub-accounts” for up to two people outside the home. The price for each “sub-account” ranges from a two to three dollar add-on per month.
Many were extremely surprised by this announcement as Netflix, from its inception as a streaming site, often encouraged password sharing as its system of personal profiles easily lent itself to use by many individuals. The official Netflix twitter account event wrote “love is sharing a password” back in March of 2017.
These price increases most likely come from the announcement that, for the first time in over a decade, Netflix has lost users. Netflix has recently reported a loss of around 200,000 users, which may seem like a drop in the bucket compared to its 221 million users around the globe. However, expectations were that Netflix subscriptions would increase up to two billion. New predictions also estimate that there could be another drop of up to two million. This caused a large scare for investors, dropping Netflix’s stock over 35% and wiping out 50 billion dollars in market cap.
Netflix is and always has been the most popular streaming service in the world. In 2021, surveys found that 79 percent of Americans who paid for any type of digital video content over the past twelve months subscribed to Netflix at some point during that year – more than any other streaming service.
Netflix’s age might not actually be doing itself a favor. Their pricing model is outdated and is beginning to not make sense for many users. The standard plan which gives users HD video on 2 screens has had two price hikes in the last two years from $13 to $15.50. The cheaper plan, called the basic plan, seems like a better option before considering that Netflix basic only supports 480p resolution, which is abysmally poor quality for 2022. For comparison, all other major streaming services have supported HD 1080p quality–which is over twice as sharp– for almost a decade.
With these Netflix price increases along with the recent announcement from Netflix’s cheif executive that they plan to add advertisements (possibly similar to Hulu), many users cannot justify the cost. “My family stopped their Netflix sub recently,” senior Steven Wilkinson said. “A lot of people like Disney+ and HBO Max right now, and a lot of people are turning to piracy. No one is going to pay the increased price unless they feel it’s worth it, and it seems like there are so many other streaming services offering better stuff.”
With streaming services offering a wide range of niches and needs for consumers, many students and families alike seem to think that Netflix isn’t producing the quality of shows and movies that HBO, Disney, and Prime Video have achieved. “I use Prime Video over Netflix mostly just because it has the categories I want,” senior Makayla Ackerman-Coelho said. Many recent hit shows have, in fact, been from different streaming platforms. HBO’s Euphoria and The Sopranos have seen incredible, as has Disney+’s Moon Knight, The Mandalorian, and The Book of Boba Fett. For the first time in years, Netflix may not be the clear winner of the so-called “streaming war.” Now, it’s up to consumers to decide which service will be the new champion.