Netflix Account Sharing Could Get Cancelled

Image: Netflix

The tradition of sharing one Netflix account among a small group of friends is under threat. New AI-driven software developed by Synamedia can work out when people are sharing an account and alert service providers like Netflix, Amazon Prime and others as to when people share credentials and split the costs.

The software uses algorithms that can decipher whether certain access patterns are legit or the result of account sharing.

Synamedia says the phenomenon of 'casual credential sharing' is costing streaming platform providers big time with some data suggesting that up to a quarter of millennials share accounts. The company also claims they can tell the difference between a shared log-in and one used by someone who frequently travels by looking at usage patterns.

In the past, Netflix's CEO has been reported as saying he thinks sharing Netflix is OK. That said, Netflix's Terms of Use are pretty clear. They say:

The Netflix service and any content viewed through the service are for your personal and non-commercial use only and may not be shared with individuals beyond your household.

Amazon Prime has similar "household" based rules. and Stan's T&Cs say " You must keep your Account details private and must not share these details".

So, by the letter of the law, sharing your log-in credentials seems like a no-no.

For now, it seems that even though Synamedia can potentially detect shared log ins, it's unlikely the main SVOD platforms are ready to take action. Perhaps they see today's shared log-in as a potential paid user of the future and are unwilling to alienate customers.

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    Oh good. So this means they'll have UHD packages tailored to individuals now? About time.

    So, by the letter of the law, sharing your log-in credentials seems like a no-no.

    No, not against the law. Just the T&C's.

    I have a shared account and if it gets canned I wouldn't renew. It would get a lot of negative feedback.

    I'd think this would be useless. I mean take a typical household with two adults and two children. There's a good chance the adults will watch different content. If the kids are different ages/genders it's likely they'll watch different content too. And it's a dead cert that the adults will watch different content to the kids. So that's four different viewing "types" with different access patterns all in the same household, all potentially watching on mobile/tablet/tv/console. So they're gonna get banned? Seems unlikely.

      Oh, and that's even before you get to the reality that Netflix view account sharing as a sales loss leader. Share your account with a friend and sooner or later they'll get their own account because they need more connections for their kids.

      Pretty sure they're not worried about stuff shared in a household, which they'll be able to detect with IP addresses anyway, it's more sharing your credentials with people you don't live with that they'd be wanting to detect.

      I actually don't think it's that hard to figure out if an account is being shared with the amount of data that streaming companies have already, it would be trivial to set up a rules based approach to flag users who are sharing credentials, so if they wanted to enforce this they very easily could already.

      Some company has just put out a press release with the right buzzwords (AI) and lifehacker has run with it.

        Except in the situation I point out you could easily have multiple IP addresses. Dad on his phone on the train to work, Mum on hers, kids on their phones or school wifi or some cafe's wifi. And of course the home setup. It's not hard to imagine a legitimate scenario for a family of four actually regularly accessing netflix from half a dozen different IP addresses.

        And for a lot of people IP addresses are still not fixed. So if you reboot your router you'll wind up with a new one.

      Not to mention if the adults watch certain things at home then the kids watch certain content on their iPads at a friends house it will be different access patterns from different locations. The idea is you can use Netflix from anywhere on any supported device concurrently.

      Don't you have different profiles for each family member? We have profiles for each person so their personalised preferences don't 'pollute' other family members

        Depends how lazy people are. And heck if you take profiles into account, then how does netflix (or this analysis company) decide the profile "Little Timmy" isn't actually your son Timmy and is in fact your mate Tim who lives down the road?

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