Sharing is Caring

Netflix's 'Extra Member' feature makes you pay for password sharing

Netflix is looking to wring even more money out of its subscribers.

Hand holding a TV remote while watching shows on a streaming service on Television.

We can think of a couple of ways Netflix could save itself some money right off the top of our heads: First off, stop giving unrepentant transphobic comedians millions of dollars. Secondly, shut down that new video game division, it’ll never work. Of course, neither of these strategies seem very likely. Instead, it’s far more probable to see the streaming platform just raise prices once again. That, and try to tackle their pesky password-sharing problem once and for all.

According to an exclusive report from Variety, Netflix will test a new “Extra Member” tier meant to help curb unauthorized users “borrowing” friends’ and family members’ account credentials. The pilot program will soon roll out in Peru, Chile, and Costa Rica, where “members on our Standard and Premium plans will be able to add sub accounts for up to two people they don’t live with — each with their own profile, personalized recommendations, login and password — at a lower price,” Chengyi Long, Netflix’s Product Innovation Director, posted to the company’s news blog today.

For roughly $2.99 extra per month (per user), customers can share their streaming subscriptions in good conscience, and Netflix can recoup a little extra. More the latter than the former, but y’know, someone’s gotta help pay for Dave Chappelle’s next avoidable scandal.

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Might amount to nothing — Now, it’s important to note that there’s no guarantee Netflix’s experimental “Extra Member” feature will expand to more international markets. Last year, they ran a similar beta asking for user credentials to curb similar freeloading issues that has yet to materialize in a larger capacity. The additional account sign-on option could flounder, as well, but then again, it seems like a pretty easy way to rake in additional revenue.

It’s this or the ads — We’ll take these kinds of subscription tests over the possibility of in-app commercials any day, of course. While that remains an unlikely prospect, Netflix’s CFO Spencer Neumann didn’t rule out the possibility last week. “It’s not like we have religion against advertising, to be clear,” he said at the time. “But that’s not something that’s in our plans right now... We have a really nice scalable subscription model, and again, never say never, but it’s not in our plan.” So, yeah. It’s this, or the commercials, people. Open those wallets.