Netflix has begun testing a new subscription plan that would enable subscribers to let non-subscriber friends share their account at a reduced price.
Dubbed “Extra Member,” the strategy is being tested in Chile, Costa Rica and Peru affording local $8.99 monthly basic plan, $12.99 standard plan and $15.99 premium plan subs the ability to include up to two nonsubscribers monthly access on their account for an additional $2.99 monthly fee. The plan also enables account holders to transfer user profiles.
Shared passwords are not new, with all SVOD services, not just Netflix, dealing with unauthorized account access worldwide. Netflix, until recently, had turned a blind eye to the situation, going so far as to suggest that shared passwords ultimately resulted in new subscribers.
“We love people sharing Netflix whether they’re two people on a couch or 10 people on a couch,” co-founder/co-CEO Reed Hastings said in 2016. “That’s a positive thing, not a negative thing.”
Fast-forward to the present and Netflix has changed its tune. The streamer is looking for subscriber retention as North American and European sub growth cools. The streamer ended 2021 with about 222 million subs worldwide — up almost 9% from 204 million subs at the end of 2020.
Last year in an investor event, Netflix brass was asked about the company’s efforts to thwart password sharing. Hastings offered mixed signals, suggesting the service was taking steps to curb the practice, but without offending existing account holders.
“We will test many things, but we will never roll something out that feels like turning the screws,” Hastings said last year. “It has got to feel like it makes sense to consumers, that they understand.”