Spanish research firm flags up risk to Netflix of restricting password sharing

Global streamer Netflix ended 2022 on a high, with Q4 results beating expectations. But Spanish research firm Barlovento Comunicación has issued a warning that plans to restrict the use of shared accounts might result in subscriber churn.

In the most recent edition of its Barómetro TV-OTT survey, the firm reported that 56.9% of the population view the platform through shared accounts –  a much higher figure than rival services. It asked people how they would react if the platform terminated with the use of shared accounts for free. “In this case,” said Barvolento, “58.7% of Netflix users say they will finish their subscription, compared to a 14.8% who say they will pay extra to be able to continue using the service.”

Netflix is poised to introduce a crackdown on password sharing this year. Reports suggest that those who share passwords may be required to $3 extra. Alternatively, the secondary password users may be required to set up their own account.

In terms of the business calculation for Netflix, the downside risk is the one identified by Barvolento, which is that subscribers might churn. However there is a significant potential upside, with as many as 100m homes piggybacking accounts. One thing that may make Netflix confident about the switch in Spain is the strength of its content offering. In 2022, the platform doubled its investment in Spanish-language shows.

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