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The glory days of using your college roommate’s Netflix password may be coming to an end.
In their third-quarter earnings interview on Wednesday, Netflix executives revealed that they are monitoring password sharing and are looking for ways to push back against it.
The streamer didn’t get into specifics, but this could present challenges for family members who live apart, romantic partners in long-distance relationships, and, of course, friends who have pooled their resources to make sure they have access to the various streaming platforms competing for your hard-earned dollar.
Presumably, whatever steps Netflix takes will involve limiting devices or IP addresses. Netflix already limits the number of devices that an account can stream at once. Future crackdowns may involve further limits, such as a cap on the number of devices that can be associated with the account overall.
New competitors entering the streaming space have already considered similar limiting tactics. Disney+ announced it would instate a 10-device limit on accounts overall, but it walked this back after pushback from consumers. The streaming newcomer will instead launch with a similar cap to Netflix: Only four devices will be able to access the service on an account at once.
The imminent streaming wars will likely involve a glut of new programming and firm limits on how customers can access that content as a myriad of platforms fight for supremacy. It’s hard to imagine that every service entering the market will survive. Consumers should start expecting hard-nosed tactics as the competition between streamers heats up.
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Brenden Gallagher is a politics reporter and cultural commentator. His work has been published by Motherboard, Complex, and VH1. He’s the co-founder of Beer Money Films, an indie production company. Based in Los Angeles, he works in television drama as a writers assistant.