Netflix to test ‘add a home’ feature in select non-U.S. markets

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Netflix is building upon an existing test in select countries to offer an “add a home” feature experiment as it continues to wrestle with account sharing and its implications.

The feature will roll out Aug. 22, 2022 in Argentina, the Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras and will allow a “main” Netflix account to be associated with up to three additional homes.

Netflix will not offer the feature in the U.S. as of August 2022, though some initial reports on the announcement appeared to suggest that it would.

“Adding a home” essentially has the same result as a plan the streamer started testing earlier this year outside the U.S.

Adding a home will cost an additional 219 pesos or $2.99 per month, which does hike the subscription cost for whoever’s footing the bill, but still is cheaper than subscribing to another, fully separate account.

Netflix says that basic accounts will only be able to add one extra home, while standard accounts can give access to two other households and top-tier ones can add up to three.

Based on screenshots Netflix released, it appears the service will attempt to detect when an account is being used outside of the primary home and nudge viewers to use the “add a home” feature and shell out the extra money.

Netflix’s help site says that it will “prompt” users to add a home but will not automatically start charging them if a new household is detected.

Netflix doesn’t share exactly how it determines if an account is being shared beyond saying it relies on IP address, unique device identification codes and account activity.

Though similar, the “add a home” test is distinct from the “sub account” approach the streamer started testing earlier this year.

Netflix estimates that as many as 100 million of its accounts are shared by more than one household, which is against its terms of service. Until this point, the company hasn’t actively enforced that rule.

Enforcing the policy could have both long-term benefits and disadvantages.

Alerting subscribers that an additional household has been detected could draw unwanted attention to the level of tracking the streamer does (which it disclaims in its terms of service and privacy policy). There’s a risk those subscribers could cancel their accounts.

On the other hand, cracking down on account sharing has the potential to boost the company’s bottom line by signing up more subscribers who pay the monthly fee.

However, there is likely a line between the number of people siphoning off someone else’s Netflix account who would actually pay for it in whole.

Those who use another account’s login, and therefore apparently unwilling to pay the full monthly price, may only borrow a login to watch a show or two.

Netflix’s various plans to add smaller additional fees to the main account appears to acknowledge that many people using another account’s login are likely to consume less content.

Netflix has also faced questions over how it defines a household and how this applies to the diverse types of families there are today — including co-parenting arrangements and blended families.

Like most streamers, Netflix also meters the number of simultaneous streams each account can use, typically based on account level. This could help cut down on account sharing while also essentially limiting the number of “licenses” that are being used by a single account, even by members of the same household, at the same time.