Netflix poised to end password sharing, potentially affecting 100 million users

Streaming service has been struggling to compete in crowded entertainment market.
Netflix, March 6, 2020

Netflix is reportedly poised to cancel the widespread user practice of "password sharing," limiting accounts to one single household in a move to shore up its struggling bottom line. 

The streaming company several years ago "identified password sharing as a major problem eating into subscriptions," the Wall Street Journal reported on Wednesday, but did not move to address it until this year due to significant gains in subscribers during the COVID-19 pandemic. 

That boom in subscribers "masked the extent of the password-sharing issue," Co-Chief Executive Reed Hastings reportedly told executives earlier this year, with company sources telling the Journal that Netflix recently decided to act on the problem as the company saw a subsequent downturn in subscribers. 

The new rules will allegedly go into effect early next year. 

Password-sharing has been a long-accepted custom among Netflix users, so much so that the company itself once acknowledged the habit on its official Twitter feed. 

"Love is sharing a password," it wrote in 2017.