Opinion | Netflix’s password sharing policy is terrible for consumers

Netflix’s password crackdown risks college students streaming abilities.

Peter Anders, Opinions Contributor

Netflix wants to make more money at the expense of the user.

The standard Netflix subscription in the U.S. costs $15.49 a month, more than double the price of some of its counterparts. The company is planning to roll out a new policy that would make many consumers purchase a new subscription. If you don’t literally live in the same household as the primary account holder, you are going to have to pay for your own Netflix account.

This is a poor move for the company because Netflix fails to account for the alternative options consumers will turn to.

These methods included in this policy include tracking where the user is watching content, the WiFi network the user is streaming from, what devices are using a single account, and 31-day password reset. Their aim to is to make new accounts for every user rather than every household.

Netflix has reported this policy to act during the end of March. The exact date has not been released. When the time comes, college students should stop their Netflix watching. Instead of rewarding an overpriced service, students should save their money to spend on services that don’t punish them for not living.

It is reasonable that Netflix doesn’t like the idea of giving 100 million users essentially free access, but many users are generally under the impression that’s why it’s not cheaper in the first place.

Netflix isn’t the only streaming service people have anymore. In a field of services with trusted brands like Nickelodeon or Pixar, Netflix overestimates their brand’s worth in comparison to other services.

Amazon Prime Video has been investing heavily into their content, bundled together with Amazon Prime, which students get a discount for. Amazon has arguably just as much — if not more — content available to watch than Netflix. It’s yet to mention a policy change of this manner.

Netflix is the first streaming service to attempt this, and other streaming services are likely to watch the backlash Netflix suffers, stay away from any similar policy, and capitalize on it. Students — and all consumers — shouldn’t have to pay more money for a service that’s already overpriced.

There’s plenty of ad-supported streaming services out there that don’t seem to be punishing college kids or young adults for not living at home. This includes Tubi, Pluto TV, Crackle, and Xumo Play. Those cost nothing and are accessible to us.

AMC+, Peacock, and other services that are arguably struggling to stand out among the crowd aren’t resorting to punishing people for account sharing. Netflix advocated for password sharing in the past and has now changed its rhetoric to fault the consumer; that is somewhat insulting.

Netflix hasn’t earned brand loyalty like Disney+ or HBO. Other than a few notable hits, most Netflix content pales in comparison to prestige shows offered on rival services like “The Last of Us on HBO Max or “The Boyson Amazon.

Households shouldn’t be shamed if they choose to put up the cash for a Netflix account. It’s their choice how to spend their money. But it would be better for all of us if Netflix didn’t see this as a successful move.

College students, and all consumers, deserve to be able to watch entertainment at a reasonable price, and Netflix is determined to make it as difficult as possible. But they are not our only options, and they ought to remember that.

Columns reflect the opinions of the authors and are not necessarily those of the Editorial Board, The Daily Iowan, or other organizations in which the author may be involved.