Emerging data suggest that Netflix’s recent initiative to curb password sharing in the United States is leading to a significant improvement in its financial results.
The streaming giant has observed a considerable increase in new user registrations following the enforcement of this new policy, a boost even greater than what was observed during the initial phase of the Covid pandemic. This insight was shared by Antenna, a firm specializing in streaming analytics, which reported that Netflix had its “four most significant days” of new user registrations in the U.S. in late May, the highest since the firm began monitoring the service over four years ago.
Antenna’s research revealed that Netflix acquired 100,000 new accounts on May 26 and May 27, right after the policy came into force. In the days that followed, the number of sign-ups increased by more than 100% compared to the average sign-ups over the previous 60 days.
On May 5, 2023, an aerial view captured writers and their supporters demonstrating outside the Netflix offices in Hollywood, California. This was the fourth day of a strike by over 11,000 Hollywood television and movie writers, marking the first such strike since 2007 after negotiations over remuneration and work conditions with studios and streaming services did not result in an agreement.
While new sign-ups increased dramatically, Antenna also reported that there was a rise in account cancellations during this period, although not to the same extent as the sign-ups.
In response to this news, Netflix’s shares saw an uptick, rising almost 2% in the early trading hours on Friday. Over the past month, the company’s shares have grown over 27%, reaching a value of around $415.
Previously, Netflix had not taken significant action against password sharing, as it contributed to its growth. However, following a substantial loss of subscribers last year, the company admitted that password sharing was negatively affecting its revenue and hence, its ability to invest in new content.
Netflix estimated that over 100 million households globally are sharing accounts. As a result, last month, the company notified U.S. subscribers that if they were sharing passwords with people outside their households, they would have to pay an additional $7.99 monthly fee to add an extra member to their account, or they would have to set up a new account. Additionally, the company expressed plans to block access for users using unauthorized passwords.
Earlier in the year, Netflix began its campaign against password sharing in several other countries, including Canada, New Zealand, Portugal, and Spain. Despite a reported net increase of 1.75 million global streaming subscribers in the first quarter – nearly a 5% increase compared to the same quarter in the previous year – this fell short of the more than 3 million additional subscribers that Wall Street analysts had expected.
During a recent earnings call, Netflix acknowledged that the announcement of the paid-sharing option led to an initial wave of cancellations in every market. However, this was followed by an upswing in new user acquisitions and revenue.