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Netflix Will Start Charging Users for Password Sharing in March

Netflix will stop subscribers from sharing passwords with members living outside their homes as early as March this year. The streaming giant claims that the widespread sharing of passwords affects its ability to evolve the platform.

In a letter to shareholders late last week, the company said it would “roll out paid sharing more broadly” late in the first quarter of 2023.

“Today’s widespread account sharing (100 million + households) undermines our long-term ability to invest in and improve Netflix and build our business. While our terms of use limit the use of Netflix to a household, we recognize this is a change for members who share their accounts more broadly. So we’ve worked hard to build additional new features that improve the Netflix experience.”

Members will still “have the option to pay extra if they want to share Netflix with people they don’t live with.” Otherwise, subscribers can transfer an existing user profile to a new account, allowing viewing history, recommendations, the “my list” feature and other data to be copied over.

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Netflix previously hinted at discontinuing its password-sharing feature back in July 2022. The company described last year as “tough.” In the first quarter, it suffered its first subscriber loss in over a decade, losing 200,000 users.

The company has not disclosed the fee it will charge for password sharing nor stated how they plan to enforce the new pricing structure. Currently, Netflix can tell when users log in outside their primary household based on their IP address, device IDs, and other information.

In March 2022, Netflix rolled out paid sharing in Costa Rica, Chile, and Peru, charging users a fee to add two “subaccounts” to a primary account. Users found the policy confusing, and many could still share their passwords without repercussions. 

An anonymous Netflix customer service representative told Rest of World that “she was instructed that if a subscriber called arguing that someone from their household was just using the account from another location, she should inquire further and tell the subscriber that they could use their account without extra charge via a verification code.” Many of the representatives still needed more clarification about the policy.

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Other users in those countries canceled their subscriptions after receiving news of the oncoming fee. The shareholder letter stated that Netflix expects engagement to fall in the short term but will pick back up soon after.

“As we work through this transition – and as some borrowers stop watching either because they don’t convert to extra members or full paying accounts – near-term engagement, as measured by third parties like Nielsen’s The Gauge, could be negatively impacted. However, we believe the pattern will be similar to what we’ve seen in Latin America, with engagement growing over time as we continue to deliver a great slate of programming and borrowers sign-up for their own accounts.”

The anticipated sharing fee comes on the heels of a new subscription tier that Netflix started offering in November, which provides customers with a cheaper “Basic With Ads” subscription option. In exchange for $3 off a monthly subscription, viewers are served up to five ads an hour. Netflix claims that rolling out the new option led to member growth.

“Engagement, which is consistent with members on comparable ad-free plans, is better than what we had expected, and we believe the lower price point is driving incremental membership growth. Also, as expected, we’ve seen very little switching from other plans. Overall the reaction to this launch from both consumers and advertisers has confirmed our belief that our ad-supported plan has strong unit economics (at minimum, in-line with or better than the comparable ad-free plan) and will generate incremental revenue and profit, though the impact on 2023 will be modest given that this will build slowly over time.”

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Stranger Things Final Season Pitch Made Netflix Executives Cry

Fans of Netflix hit series Stranger Things should brace themselves for an emotional final season. The creators of the show and several of its cast members hinted at what viewers should expect from a blockbuster Season 5 during a panel in Los Angeles Sunday night.

Creators Ross and Matt Duffer, executive producer Shawn Levy, and cast Millie Bobby Brown, Caleb McLaughlin, Priah Ferguson, Jamie Campbell Bower, Joseph Quinn and Eduardo Franco took part in the panel held at Tudum Theater.

The Duffer brothers revealed that the team had finished writing the season’s first episode, “The Crawl.” The crew also conducted a two-hour pitch meeting with Netflix execs to lay out the series ending, which left some executives in tears. According to Matt Duffer, just a few individuals know how the series will end.

“We did get our executives to cry, which I felt was a good sign that these executives were crying. The only other times I’ve seen them cry were like budget meetings.”

After submitting the first episode of the beloved series’ final season, Ross Duffer reflected on the show’s remarkable run.

“We turned in the first script a couple of weeks ago and we’re onto the second. It’s full steam ahead. I remember Season 1 we were just amazed that Netflix was letting us do this at all, but Season 2 was when we really, with the writers, we developed an overall plan and a back story for all of this and make sure that, with the Upside Down, everything about what it was.”

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Patton Oswalt, who served as the panel’s moderator, probed for information on Season 5’s emotional underpinnings. Fans hope the show will continue weaving 80s horror and pop culture references into its script.

“Five, the way we see it, is kind of a culmination of all the seasons, so it’s sort of got a little bit from each, whereas before each season was so distinctly … [Season] 3 is our big summer blockbuster season with big monsters, and [Season] 4 was the psychological horror. I think that what we’re trying to do is go back to the beginning a little bit, in sort of the tone of [Season] 1.”

Ross Duffer also shared that the last episodes of Season 5 will be comparable to Season 4 “scale-wise.” 

Season 4 of the series became the most expensive Netflix original created, costing around 30 million dollars to make each episode. In comparison, Breaking Bad Season 5 was 3.5 million dollars an episode, and Game of Thrones Season 8 was 15 million dollars an episode.

The series’ outstanding ratings among viewers and 12 Emmy wins suggest that the production costs were well worth it.

“Just as important as the supernatural, we have so many characters now, most of whom are still living. It’s important to wrap up those arcs because a lot of these characters have been growing since Season 1. So, it’s a balancing act between giving them time to complete their character arcs and also tying up these loose ends and doing our final reveals.”

Levy, the show’s executive producer, has praised the Duffer brothers’ dedication to the show over the years.

“As a witness and having been in that two-hour pitch room and having read this first script — I’m paralyzed with fear that I’ll spoil anything but I will say the thing about these Duffer Brothers is that even though the show has gotten so famous and the characters have gotten so iconic and there’s so much about the ’80s and the supernatural and the genre, it’s about these people, it’s about these characters. Season 5 is already so clearly taking care of these stories of the characters because that’s always been the lifeblood of Stranger Things.”

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Matt Duffer revealed in August that the creators were considering not adding any new cast members during the final season to retain the focus on the current ensemble. Some viewers have criticized the show in the past for its reluctance to kill off main characters, which seems  idealistic in a world filled with ravenous monsters.

“Whenever we introduce a new character, we want to make sure that they’re going to be an integral part of the narrative. So that’s something with Eddie this season, where we go, ‘Well, we need a character here for this storyline to really work, and to give it the engine that is needed.’ But every time we do that, we’re nervous, because you go, ‘We’ve got a great cast of characters here, and actors, and any moment we’re spending with a new character, we’re taking time away from one of the other actors.’ So we’re just very, very careful about who we’re introducing.”

David Harbour, who plays Jim Hopper in the series, believes the final season will be a “home run.” Harbour said that playing Hopper has been “the role of a lifetime in many ways” and that he is going to pour his “heart and soul” into playing him for the last time.

“I know those Duffer brothers are very specific, and I know they want to get that last season. I mean if you look at Season 4, I have a feeling that Season 5 may not be as long, but it certainly will be packed to the brim with good stuff that you love. I mean, they really are getting better at giving you that home run that the audiences love. And I think that Season 5 will do that so much.”

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‘Glow’ And ‘Dark Crystal: Age Of Resistance’ Join Growing List Of Cancelled Netflix Originals

As Glow and Dark Crystal: Age Of Resistance join the long and growing list of Netflix original series that receive praise from audiences everywhere only to be abruptly cancelled months later, viewers are beginning to ask the question, is Netflix killing off their series too soon?

Sense8, The OA, Santa Clarita Diet, and One Day At A Time are all examples of shows that have been cancelled after receiving critical acclaim everywhere, as well as massive social media followings. They’ve all released around two to three seasons before Netflix announced they’re getting the boot, and more times than not the series ends on a cliffhanger due to the abruptness of the cancellations. 

Now, Glow and The Dark Crystal: Age of Resistance, have joined that list. The latter show is a prequel to the 1983 Jim Hensen movie which became famous for its intricate puppet design and animatronic use. Netflix premiered the prequel series in August of 2019, garnering near universal acclaim from critics and a slew of award nominations. It also received a 2020 Emmy for outstanding children’s program. Even with all of these positive accolades and reviews, Netflix still cancelled the series before it was able to develop further. 

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Glow on the other hand is a three-time Emmy winner, and is a show that follows the culture of female wrestling in the 1980’s. The show had three seasons and was about to start filming its fourth and final season when the pandemic hit. Now, thanks to the uncertainty regarding all things Covid-19, Netflix decided to just scrap the final season in its entirety, leaving many fans disappointed that their favorite show from the past three years won’t be receiving a proper ending. 

The way that Netflix decides what shows get renewed every year is still a mystery to the public. The streaming service has claimed that the cancellations have to do with social media presence as well as viewership, however, they never release their actual rating figures, leaving the public in the dark as to why these shows actually get cancelled. 

Netflix is notoriously known for watching the way their viewers interact with their programming. They look at analytics regarding what you watch, when you watch it, what time of year you’re watching it, what device you’re watching on, how many episodes you watch in a row, when you pause it, etc. The data gets so specific so the company has a better understanding of its customers. 

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Netflix apparently also looks at viewership mainly seven to 28 days after a series launches. They break their viewers into three categories: “starters, who watch the first episode; completers, who finish a show in its launch window; and watchers, a measure of all subscribers who watch a show. The more who finish a season within the first 28 days, the higher Netflix regards the show, it seems.”

This algorithm, however, is putting Netflix in the hot seat more and more, as fans are growing tired of paying more monthly for a service that keeps cancelling the shows audiences grow a deep connection too. Glow being one of the biggest and most recent examples of this, even the cast and crew working for the show went online to express their extreme disappointment in Netflix’s decision, showing that the individuals involved in the making of these shows are left in the dark just as much as the rest of the world when it comes to how/why certain shows don’t get renewed.

By exclusively looking at the viewership of a show within its first month of launching, Netflix is excluding an entire audience of individuals who have yet to discover the show, get Netflix, catch up with said show, etc. There’s a complete market of viewers that they’re choosing to ignore and while there’s been signs from management that this style of renewing would shift, the Covid-19 pandemic has flipped the entire entertainment industry on its head in general, so who’s to say.