Banning Password Sharing: A Growing Trend in Streaming Services

In the world of digital entertainment, password sharing has become a widespread practice. However, streaming giant Netflix is taking a stand against this trend, making banning password sharing its top priority.

The company recently reported a significant increase in subscribers, with six million new sign-ups over the summer. This surge in subscribers can be attributed in large part to Netflix’s anti-account sharing measures. In fact, Netflix’s success has prompted other streaming services, including Disney+, to announce plans to implement similar tactics.

The motivation behind Netflix’s efforts to discourage password sharing is not just to increase its subscriber base, but also to encourage new subscribers to sign up for ad-supported plans. Those who create their own accounts after being kicked off a shared one are more likely to opt for the cheaper, ad-supported option.

And it seems that this strategy is paying off. Nearly one quarter (23%) of new Netflix subscribers in July signed up for ad-supported plans, an increase from 19% in June.

The Challenge of Enforcing Anti-Account Sharing Measures

Although banning password sharing may seem like a straightforward solution, enforcing it is not without its challenges. Platforms like Netflix can easily detect when a user profile is accessing an account from a different IP address, enabling them to remove individual users from shared accounts. However, identifying account sharing becomes more difficult when people from different households access an account through the same user profile.

While analyzing differences in viewing patterns and locations can be one way to detect account sharing, it is not foolproof. People often watch different shows depending on their location or circumstances, such as binge-watching at home versus watching something different while traveling or during a break at work. Blocking a user who is legitimately accessing a service from an account they are paying for can lead to customer backlash and negative publicity.

Risks and Rewards for Streaming Services

Enforcing anti-account sharing measures is not a one-size-fits-all solution for streaming services. Companies must carefully weigh the risks and benefits before implementing such measures. For newer services that are still in the early stages of gaining market share, encouraging account sharing may even serve as a promotional strategy to attract more viewers. However, established services need to focus on scaling subscriber growth before risking customer churn in an attempt to achieve profitability.

When implemented effectively, anti-password-sharing efforts can bring in new subscribers and increase ad revenue. However, premature or tactless execution can have negative consequences for streaming services.


Banning password sharing is a top priority for streaming services like Netflix. While the implementation of anti-account sharing measures presents challenges, it can also lead to increased subscribers and ad revenue when done correctly. Streaming services must carefully consider the risks and rewards of enforcing anti-account sharing and ensure they strike the right balance to maintain customer satisfaction while achieving their business objectives.