Netflix is trialling a crackdown on password sharing.
Some users reported seeing a screen saying, “If you do not live with the owner of this account, you need your account to stay tuned.”
A spokesman told the BBC: “The trial is designed to help ensure that people using Netflix accounts are allowed to do so.”
It remains to be seen whether the company will use this system on its entire network.
In the test, users can verify that they are allowed to access the account by code, sent via text or email.
Netflix is trying to force out the unqualified users, or it is unclear how many people use the platform in violation of their terms of service.
Broadcast platforms, including Netflix, HBO Go, Amazon Prime and Disney +, allow users to create multiple profiles within the account, but the terms and conditions specify that they are designed for local house members to use.
During a 2016 webcast, Netflix co-founder and chief executive Reed Hastings said: “Password sharing is something you have to learn to live with, because there’s so much legitimate password sharing, like you sharing with your spouse, with your kids, so there’s no bright line, and we’re doing fine as is.”
In October 2019, product chief Greg Peters said the company was looking into the issue of password sharing, but said it had no “major plans to announce at this time by doing something different there”.
Netflix has acquired approximately 37 million new subscribers by 2020 and now has more than 200 million subscribers worldwide.
An increase of prices, a global lockdown and shows such as Tiger King and The Queen’s Gambit saw Netflix report nearly $25bn (£18bn) in revenue and almost $2.8bn (£2bn) in profit.