Netflix on Wednesday said it is testing charging a fee to subscribers who share their accounts with people who don’t live in their homes.
The US-based streaming service has long taken a relaxed approach to users sharing passwords with family or friends, but recently saw stock dive on quarterly results that showed cooling subscriber growth.
Competition in the streaming television market meanwhile has been ramping up, particularly from Disney+, with the cost of producing coveted original shows climbing as well.
In the coming weeks, Netflix will begin offering subscribers in Chile, Costa Rica and Peru the option to add as many as two people to “sub-accounts” at a monthly fee of US$2 to US$3, Netflix product innovation director Chengyi Long explained.
“We recognise that people have many entertainment choices, so we want to ensure any new features are flexible and useful for members, whose subscriptions fund all our great TV and films,” Long said in a blog post.
The Silicon Valley streaming titan has been working on ways for subscribers to share “outside their household… while also paying a bit more,” she said.
Netflix said it will allow people already sharing accounts to transfer profile and viewing history information to new sub-accounts.
Long said the company will study the utility of the new model in the three countries before making changes anywhere else.
Netflix ended last year with 221.8 million subscribers, just below target, after booming during coronavirus lockdowns that kept people at home and on the platform.
Things are not looking better for the first quarter of 2022, with the most recent Netflix earnings report saying the firm expected to add only 2.5 million subscribers.
Most of the 8.3 million subscriptions added at the end of last year came from outside North America, according to the streaming service.
Netflix recently announced subscription price bumps in the US, with the basic option now costing US$9.99, and the most expensive going up to US$19.99.