A few years back, there
was a huge push for "cord cutting" where people would trade
the overly priced Cable
or Satellite Service
for an "internet only" package
and only purchase
the streaming services that
they watched. Stories of people
saving hundreds of dollars a month prompted a huge ground swell of people
declaring that they cut the cord and moved to streaming only. In the chart below, it is evident that the
number of people leaving cable has more than doubled since 2017 and continues
to do so.
The idea of cutting the cord
and only using a streaming service was particularly helpful
for the younger generation of
workers who were trying to enter the real world financially while also staring
down the barrel of a massive monthly student loan payment. They could find an apartment with internet
service included and get the password from mom and dad's Netflix, Hulu, or any
of the other services, then they could watch anything "for free." Some people would gather up a group of
friends and split the cost for one person to sign up.
However, good things don't always last. Netflix hinted back in 2019 that they knew a "small percentage" of users were password sharing and they were investigating ways to prevent it. It was assumed that the price increases "baked in" the anticipation of password sharing. From 2014 to 2023, the price increase for Netflix's Basic package has been 25% over the 9-year period, while the Standard and Premium packages have increased 72% and 67% respectively. The number of users sharing their password has also increased in kind. Back in 2019 around 27% of users admitted that they shared, but today it's over 40% (that equates to almost a 50% increase of users who admit to sharing). After a few years of Netflix trying to figure out a solution, it has officially arrived. There is now a two-factor authentication to continue to stream if someone logs in from an IP location outside of the primary address after more than 31 days.
So, there is still a way to share with a friend or family member, but the days of 10 friends chipping in a couple bucks a month to share are most likely gone. That is unless the primary owner likes getting texted multiple times a month to verify each participants updated login.