By Connor Keating / Staff writer
Earlier this year, Netflix dropped the news that it would be removing the ability for users to share passwords, forcing many users to buy their own account.
The news caused such a kerfuffle from upset users, that Netflix removed the announcement and claimed that it was posted in error, though some don’t buy that claim. Netflix then said that they are testing the waters by trying it out in Latin American countries, and are planning to charge users in Canada, New Zealand, Portugal and Spain extra for giving their account to people who don’t live with them.
Matt Wilper, economics professor at Hutchinson Community College admitted that he was one of the many who uses someone else’s account, his sister’s.
“I think it’ll affect (students) tremendously, like ones that don’t live with their parents because that whole idea of like households, it seems like they wanted to tie it to your wifi IP address, if I read that correctly, and of course our students come from all over who aren’t always going to be tied to that IP address,” Wilper said. “So it’s going to hugely, negatively affect those students.”
When the topic was brought up in one of his Microeconomic classes, students reacted negatively to the change. However some aren’t totally against the idea.
“I think it’d be fair to use it in the household, but friends should get their own subscription,” freshman Rylee Jacobson said. “It interrupts my shows I’m watching, so I have to go find where I was at.”
There’s also the fact that only one user can be using a Netflix account at a time, even if they’re on different profiles. These restrictions, if they were put into place, would make the experience for owners of the account smoother, but would greatly affect users borrowing the account.
If Netflix did go through with such a plan, Wilper says it may harm the company.
“We have to remember my forecasting predictions have not always been great, but I see streaming services as probably the closest thing we have to a competitive market in the United States right now,” Wilper said. “Competitive markets, very easy to enter and exit, many buyers and sellers, of course there’s many providers of streaming services, tons. It’s relatively very competitive. I don’t think this is a good idea for Netflix to be honest in a long term sense.
“I get that they’re looking at a short term increase influx in cash but they’re going up against Disney, Hulu, which are basically the same company, then there’s Paramount plus, also Peacock, they’re these big players attached to major networks, who are getting a lot of content from that (pre-existing content) plus in creating their own (new) content and Netflix might find themselves in the issue of not being able to keep up. It’s so easy to just leave Netflix. A couple clicks, they lose you as a customer.
“So I just don’t think this is very wise for them, and that’s why I think you see them scaling back. They were going to implement these changes, I think they saw the big backlash, and then they were like ‘okay, maybe we should slow the break’. So I think if they do go through with it, it’d be very bad for the company. Somebody could easily buy them up and just add them under their umbrella.”
While Netflix may be a powerhouse in the current streaming service market, a major decision like this could potentially ruin them, sending users to go elsewhere for their entertainment.
As Wilper said, all it takes is a couple clicks.