Perhaps inevitably, Netflix has begun testing new tools to prevent account sharing, the BBC reports (opens in new tab).
In the trial, which currently affects a small sample of accounts, viewers are shown a screen saying: 'If you don't live with the owner of this account, you need your own account to keep watching'.
Users are then asked to provide confirmation that they share the same household by entering a verification code sent to the owner.
A spokesperson for Netflix told the BBC: "This test is designed to help ensure that people using Netflix accounts are authorised to do so."
This may sound rather officious for the typically laid-back Netflix, but never fear; it has been reported (opens in new tab) that there’s an option to ‘verify later’, banishing the warning screen from reappearing. For now, anyway. The company has not yet decided whether the feature will roll out across its whole network.
While sharing passwords outside of a household violates Netflix's terms of service, it’s long been a common practice that the company has acknowledged as one of its strongest marketing tools, with CEO Reed Hastings having called it (opens in new tab) “a positive thing” back in 2016.
That may have been the case when we were first introduced to the delights of streaming, but with users becoming savvier and increasing the number of digital services they are willing to subscribe to, Netflix’s attitude could be shifting.
Streaming subscription numbers saw a record increase (opens in new tab) in 2020 thanks to the combination of the Covid-19 pandemic and new services like Disney Plus and HBO Max. Netflix is still the clear leader with over 203 million accounts, but as competitors have started to eat up its market share, could password control be the company's way of fighting back?
Check out the 36 best TV shows to watch on Netflix right now
Here are 25 Netflix tips, tricks and features