Netflix’s account-sharing crackdown gets a little less painful


As part of its continued push to combat password sharing, Netflix has introduced the option to transfer user profiles to new accounts. 

The new feature, suitably-titled Profile Transfer, lets you move your viewing history, watchlist and personalized recommendations to a different Netflix account, should you find yourself moving from your current household.

“People move. Families grow. Relationships end. But throughout these life changes, your Netflix experience should stay the same,” Netflix said in a statement announcing the feature. 

The streaming service had been testing Profile Transfer in South America, but the feature has now (as of October 17) begun rolling out to subscribers across the US and UK. 

You’ll be notified by email as soon as the option becomes available on your account, at which point you’ll need to launch Netflix, hover over your profile icon in the dropdown menu and follow the on-screen instructions. 

On the face of it, this is a helpful move for anyone who’s regularly forced to divert their gaze from an ex-partner’s profile when logging into Netflix. But, as we alluded to above, Profile Transfer is really just another way that Netflix plans to crack down on account sharers. 

Company executives estimate that more than 100 million non-paying Netflix users exist worldwide, with over 30 million in the US and Canada alone. By giving these non-paying ‘customers’ the option to transfer their user profiles to new accounts, Netflix will encourage at least some of these individuals to set up their own accounts outright. 

Not the only change

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Profile Transfer is the latest in a steady stream of recent Netflix updates that have been introduced to boost the streamer’s revenue pool. Back in July, Netflix began trialing an “add a home” surcharge that allows bill-paying customers to add entire households – rather than individual users – to their existing monthly subscriptions for a small fee. 

A similar, member-specific surcharge was likewise trialed earlier this year, and Netflix has also sporadically experimented with verification emails to confirm users’ identities. 

All of the above have come as precursors to the streamer’s boldest revenue-generation move yet: the introduction of an ad-supported subscription tier. Netflix has confirmed that this cheaper Netflix plan – set to cost $6.99 / £4.99 / AU$6.99 per month – will launch in the US, UK and Australia on November 3, offering subscribers a more affordable way to watch Netflix at the expense of seeing four to five minutes of ads per hour.