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netflix

Netflix Backtracks on Password Sharing Guidelines Following Backlash

Less than a week after Netflix announced new rules aimed at cracking down on password sharing amongst users, the streaming service is backtracking its new guidelines, claiming they were posted in error.

In preparation for its upcoming policy to limit password sharing on the service, Netflix updated its help center page to list new restrictions. Some have been retracted after Netflix received intense backlash from its user base.

The streaming giant has been testing out its new policy on account sharing in Chile, Costa Rica, and Peru over the last year. Starting in March, viewers in America will also be subject to the new regulations.

Users will be required to designate a “primary location” for all profiles in their household, as per the new rules. Anyone who wishes to use the same account in a different location will be required to pay a fee.

Netflix plans to use device IDs, IP addresses and account activity to confirm a viewer’s location.

The updated help center page added a new requirement that users log in to their primary location’s Wi-Fi once every 31 days to avoid having their devices blocked. Users who are traveling would need to use temporary codes, which would expire after seven days.

“A Netflix account is for people who live together in a single household. People who do not live in your household will need to use their own account to watch Netflix.”

Many subscribers threatened to cancel upon hearing about the new updates. Some took to social media to share their outrage. One Twitter user tweeted questioning how this would apply to students.

“This new @Netflix anti-password sharing rule is so stupid. What about students? What about people who travel? I literally pay for one and won’t be able you use my own account after 30 days of leaving home?? Make it make sense.”

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Netflix claimed that the new updates were posted in error. They also added that no official announcements have been made outside of the countries where the tests are currently being conducted.

“For a brief time last Tuesday, a help center article containing information that is only applicable to Chile, Costa Rica, and Peru went live in other countries. We have since updated it.”

The investment firm Jeffries recently surveyed 380 Netflix password borrowers and found that 62% of them said they would no longer use the service after the new regulations rather than sign up for a new account or pay a fee.

Only 10% of respondents said they would sign up for a new account, suggesting that password-sharing users may be hesitant to switch to paid plans.

Over a third (35%) of respondents said they could just as easily replace Netflix with another service and another 31% said they do not find the content compelling enough to pay to consume.

When polled about which competitor’s platform they would use in its place, the top answers were Amazon Prime Video (42%), Hulu (35%), and Disney+ (26%).

Jadon Helfstein, head of internet research at Oppenheimer, told Yahoo Finance Live in an interview on Monday that he believes this will still be a net positive for the company.

“The bottom line is there’s a massive amount of password sharing, particularly among affluent people…We do think a good chunk of [Netflix] subscribers will probably pay more to keep certain members of their household or, let’s say, their children who no longer live with them, on their plan.”

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He added that the company would not be doing this if they thought “they would end up in a worse revenue situation.”

“The reality is people have taken advantage of it. Sharing your Netflix account with 20 other people is probably not what the company had in mind, [but] if people are reasonable and share this with five, six people in their family? I think it’s going to work out.”

The updated help center page now lists, “If you are traveling or live between different homes, we want you to be able to enjoy Netflix anywhere, anytime.”

“If you are the primary account owner (or live with them), you shouldn’t need to verify your device to watch Netflix. If you are away from the Netflix household for an extended period of time, you may be occasionally asked to verify your device. We ask you to verify to make sure that the device using the account is authorized to do so.”

To verify a viewing device, Netflix will send a link to the primary account owner’s email address or phone number with a 4-digit verification code. The code will then need to be entered on the device that requested it within 15 minutes. Once authorized, the device can be used to watch Netflix, but device verification may be required periodically.

According to a Netflix shareholder letter from last month, more than 100 million households share passwords, with 30 million residing in the U.S. and Canada.

netflix

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.”

red carpet

Selena Gomez Responds to Body Shamers After Golden Globes Appearance

Selena Gomez called out social media users who were body-shaming her after her appearance at the 2023 Golden Globes on Tuesday.

In an Instagram Live, the “Only Murders in the Building” actress talked about body positivity alongside her 9-year-old sister, Gracie Elliott Teefey, who also accompanied her to the event.

“I’m a little bit big right now because I enjoyed myself during the holidays.”

“But we don’t care,” she added, laughing with her little sister.

Gomez walked the red carpet in a black velvet Valentino gown featuring purple sleeves, a plunging neckline, an off-the-shoulder bodice, and a thigh-high slit. She wore a pair of diamond drop earrings by De Beers and pulled her hair into a high ponytail to complement the dress.

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Gracie wore a silver and gold dress with a tiny gold purse. In August 2022, Gomez shared on TaTaTu’s video podcast that the two sisters are very close, and Gracie “puts things in perspective.”

“I have to basically watch this little person grow into a human being. There’s no better feeling in the world. I kind of feel like a parent in a way.”

Gomez has been vocal about online “trolls” before. Back in April 2022, Gomez told her fans on TikTok that being skinny was not worth sacrificing eating her favorite foods since she would get criticism about her weight regardless.

“You’re too small,’ ‘you’re too big,’ ‘that doesn’t fit,’ meh-meh-meh. I am perfect the way I am. Moral of the story? Bye!”

The singer has been open about her relationship with social media through the years. In 2019, she deleted several apps off her phone, including Instagram, after comments left her feeling “depressed.”

In a “Good Morning America” interview in April 2022, Gomez said she had been off the internet for four and a half years. She only posted on Instagram and Twitter by sending her assistant photos and text to share.

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Two years prior, in an interview on “Live with Kelly and Ryan,” Gomez talked about the impact of social media on today’s youth.

I think it’s just become really unhealthy for young people, including myself, to spend all of their time fixating on all of these comments and letting this stuff in.”

She told “Women’s Wear Daily” in October 2021 that taking a long hiatus from social media significantly improved her mental health.

“I’m completely unaware of actually what’s going on in pop culture, and that makes me really happy. And maybe that doesn’t make everybody else happy, but for me, it’s really saved my life.”

Gomez hinted at her return to Instagram on Tuesday with a series of bathroom selfies.

“Wait, can you tell I’m back on Instagram?” she captioned the post.

Gomez’s performance as Mabel Mora on Hulu’s “Only Murders in the Building” earned her a nomination for Best Television Actress in a Musical/Comedy Series on Tuesday.

Netflix

Netflix’s “The Witcher” Eclipses “The Mandalorian” as World’s Most Popular TV Show

The recent launch of Disney Plus was accompanied by a live-action TV show based on the Star Wars universe, which soon became one of the most-watched shows in the world, thanks in part to its adorable alien creature fans have nicknamed “Baby Yoda.” But Netflix, undoubtedly the fiercest competitor to Disney’s new streaming service, has years of experience producing TV shows that capture the attention of critics and audiences alike, and has done so yet again with “The Witcher.” According to the data company Parrot Analytics, “The Witcher” has surpassed Disney’s “The Mandalorian” in popularity, drawing 127 million viewers as opposed to “The Mandalorian’s” 115 million viewers for the week of December 22 to 28. Based on a series of fantasy novels by the Polish author Andrzej Sapkowski, “The Witcher” follows a monster hunter named Geralt of Rivia during his adventures in a medieval world. Though critics gave “The Witcher” a lukewarm reception, audiences flocked to the fantasy show, all but ensuring that Netflix will renew the series for several more seasons.

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A number of factors could explain “The Witcher’s” sudden popularity. For one, audiences may be familiar with the world of “The Witcher” not only from the eight novels that inspired it but from the popular video game series of the same name, sparking their curiosity about how Netflix would handle a live-action adaptation. Additionally, the end of “Game of Thrones” left many viewers unsatisfied, and “The Witcher” provides an opportunity for fans of the genre to immerse themselves in a new fantasy world. Netflix has advertised “The Witcher” prominently, and as of this writing a trailer for the show loads immediately after visiting the website. And while Disney Plus has seen tremendous success in its first few months, many more people have Netflix subscriptions than Disney Plus subscriptions, as the former service has been around for more than a decade. All eight episodes of the show’s first season were released on December 20th in keeping with Netflix’s tradition of releasing all episodes of a season at once to facilitate binge-watching. “The Mandalorian’s” first season also had eight episodes, but these episodes were released weekly, with the season finale premiering on December 27th. The success of both shows demonstrates that both release models are viable for attracting large audiences, though most viewers likely prefer Netflix’s approach as it allows for instant gratification.

Despite the show’s popularity, reviewers had a number of complaints about “The Witcher.” Overall, it holds a 59% approval rating among critics on Rotten Tomatoes, who criticized the show for failing to establish a convincing, believable fantasy environment and for its “boring” characters. Critics also complained that the show is poorly paced and features excessively convoluted storylines, which are particularly hard to follow for people unfamiliar with the books or video games. General audiences were more approving of the show, as “The Witcher” holds a 93% audience rating on Rotten Tomatoes. Given the series’ high production values, engaging action sequences, and the audience’s familiarity with the source material, it is perhaps not surprising that “The Witcher” ended up being a crowd-pleaser. 

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Unlike “The Witcher,” both audiences and critics approved of Disney’s “The Mandalorian,” as viewers around the world fell in love with the show’s infant alien character. On Rotten Tomatoes, “The Mandalorian” has a 94% approval rating among critics and a 93% audience approval rating, indicating near-universal acclaim. Viewers praised “The Mandalorian” for its compelling characters, its engaging action sequences, and its adherence to the style of the Star Wars universe. Considering that “The Mandalorian” was likely the most successful aspect of the launch of Disney Plus, Disney is likely to continue to produce the series for some time. That being said, as a result of “The Witcher’s” early success among audiences and the vast expanse of narrative content available for adaptation, both shows are likely to continue for many years to come.