Netflix Steps Up Effort to Get Paid for Account Sharing

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Netflix has a plan to deal with rampant account sharing: a program that allows subscribers to pay more to share their account with people outside of their household.

The streaming giant introduced payshare in Canada, New Zealand, Portugal and Spain on Wednesday. It was previously rolled out to multiple markets in Latin America.

While Netflix won't say when paid sharing will come to other countries, some version of the plan is expected to roll out in the US in the coming weeks. About a third of Netflix subscribers live in the US and Canada.

Netflix has more than 231 million paid subscribers in 190 countries. The Los Gatos, California-based company estimated that 100 million households currently share their accounts with others, which affects the company's ability to invest in new programming.

"We've always made it easy for people who live together to share their Netflix account with features like profiles and multiple streams," the company said in a blog post on Wednesday. “While these have been very popular, they have also created confusion about when and how you can share Netflix.”

Starting Wednesday, Netflix said it will allow standard and premium subscribers in Canada, Spain, New Zealand and Portugal to set up an additional account for up to two people they don't live with for an additional monthly fee. The monthly fee varies by country; in Canada they are 7.99 Canadian dollars, while in Portugal they are 3.99 euros.

Netflix said it will also allow people who have been paying accounts to transfer their viewing history and other preferences to a new paid subscription.

Netflix did not say what actions it will take if subscribers continue to share accounts outside of their home. In a conference call with investors in January, Netflix co-CEO Greg Peters said the company is trying to be thoughtful and gradual in its implementation.

“It is worth noting that this will not be a universally popular movement, so there will be current members who are not happy with this movement. We will see a bit of a cancellation reaction to that,” he said. “We think this is similar to what we see when we raise prices.”

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