Netflix Signed Up 200K in Days After Password-Sharing Crackdown

Netflix’s password-sharing ban hasn’t hurt its subscriber numbers.

The streaming service announced May 23 it would begin efforts to block password sharing

Since then, subscription research service Antenna said last week, Netflix enjoyed the four single largest days of U.S. user acquisition in the 4½ years Antenna has been monitoring those numbers. 

“Based on the most current data available, Netflix saw nearly 100,000 daily sign-ups on both May 26 and May 27,” Antenna said. 

“Average daily sign-ups to Netflix reached 73k during that period, a +102% increase from the prior 60-day average. These exceed the spikes in sign-ups Antenna observed during the initial U.S. COVID-19 lockdowns in March and April 2020.”

This isn’t to say people weren’t also canceling their memberships. Those numbers rose as well, Antenna said, but not as much as sign-ups. Netflix’s ratio of sign-ups to cancellations since the day the crackdown was announced is up +25.6% compared to the previous 60-day period. 

As PYMNTS wrote last week, Netflix has been seeking a way to balance its “long history of customer centricity and its need as a business to get paid.”

Password sharing has been a thorny issue for Netflix for more than a decade, but it used to just grow its way through that and other problems. The company is now taking a different view.

Co-CEO Greg Peters said during an April earnings call that users who have been account “borrowers” in the past and have watched a great deal of content from Netflix were likely to convert to the company’s new paid account-sharing system.

“Your Netflix account is for you and the people you live with — your household,” Netflix said in a recent email to members. “You can easily watch Netflix on the go and when you travel — either on your personal devices or a TV at a hotel or vacation home.”

In the email, Netflix also detailed that users can control which devices are using an account and how to share the service with someone outside the household — by transferring a profile to a new membership that they pay for or by purchasing an extra member for an existing account.

Netflix’s new approach to passwords is coming at a time when 60% of retail subscribers admit to bending the rules to gain extra benefits from subscription services, according to the “Subscription Commerce Conversion Index: The Challenge of Cheaters,” a PYMNTS and collaboration.

The same report also found that cost is the main driver for cancellations of subscription plans, with 56% of consumers ending a subscription in the prior 12 months for that reason.