Within the last month, Netflix has received a lot of backlash online because of its new policy change surrounding password sharing. Even so, on February 8, Netflix announced that in multiple countries, including Canada, they will begin charging extra for users living outside of the primary account location.
Netflix was founded in 1997 and began its streaming platform in 2007. In 2009, Netflix began releasing “Netflix Originals.” The streaming service was not released in Canada until 2010. In 2013, Netflix added the profile feature, which gave users access to multiple profiles with one account.
Netflix has never truly been a monopoly, as Hulu, another American service, was released in 2007 as well. HBO Go was released in 2010, and in Canada, Crave TV popped up in 2014. The streaming industry quickly caused companies like Blockbuster to go out of business.
Even while sharing the market, Netflix was undeniably popular. According to Netflix, in 2022, 73.39 million used the site in just Canada and the United States.
The current Netflix drama is primarily related to the password sharing issue. Basically, Netflix does not want people sharing Netflix accounts anymore. Instead, they want more people to make individual profiles, which will make them more money.
This is angering many users. Online backlash surrounding this decision is not only focused on the new password sharing policy, but also a decline in user experience generally. In an article I wrote a few months ago, I mentioned how users have been cancelling their subscriptions because of the company’s habit of cancelling well-liked shows after just one season.
It is also important to note that with the arrival of new subscription services such as Disney+, which was released in 2019, Netflix has lost the rights to a lot of beloved movies and series. Many people are already fed up with the decrease of quality content on Netflix and are taking this policy change as another reason to cancel their subscription.
The policy change implemented by Netflix especially impacts university students who now potentially live away from their parents and their primary account locations.
“It certainly makes other streaming services more enticing,” said Jackson Major, a fourth-year Commerce student. “It negatively affects me as a student. I would be able to use Netflix if they still had password sharing because my parents have the service at home.” Major’s family lives in British Columbia. “As a business major, it doesn’t make a lot of sense, and it certainly incentivizes me and my family to use a different streaming service.”
Although my family isn’t far, as they live in Moncton, this policy change is still incredibly annoying for me as well. I typically watch Netflix on my T.V., which I don’t plan on bringing with me each time I go home. Because of this, I will likely watch other streaming services, rather than logging into Netflix on my computer.
Overall, I think this was a really weird move by Netflix. They have faced so much backlash with many people online posting canceling their account or threatening to cancel due to the policy change. As mentioned before, Netflix isn’t a monopoly, and it is easy for users to simply switch their streaming service of choice, especially when the content provided is often better on other platforms. I wonder what this decision will mean for Netflix in the long term. Will Netflix truly become the next Blockbuster?