US Netflix account sharers won't have to pay up – for now

(Image credit: Shutterstock)

Netflix has no current plans to bring its account-sharing surcharge to the US, the company has told TechRadar.

This is excellent news for the roughly 50% of all US Netflix account holders who, according to a recent study by Time2Play, share their accounts with people outside their households.

Netflix recently revealed that it had launched a limited test of a $2.99 surcharge for account holders who want to share their Netflix account with people living outside their household.

For the fee, Netflix members can add up to two 'sub account' users. It sounds like a reasonable deal, but it's raised the alarm bells for the millions of Netflix users who are already freely sharing their account info (user ID and password) with family, friends, and co-workers.

At the time, Netflix noted that the test was limited to Chile, Costa Rica, and Peru. This week, it told us that the test is still being rolled out in those locations, and a company spokesperson noted via email that "It's still early days so we're still learning at the moment, and at this point, there are no plans for the US."

Across America right now, millions of Netflix sharers – and those mooching on other people's accounts – are breathing a huge sigh of relief.

A nation of moochers

The Time2Play study is among the first of its kind. It surveyed over 1,500 people across 50 states (and the District of Columbia), asking respondents – who were on average almost 34 years old – if they share or are using other people's accounts.

50.7% said they were sharing their accounts outside their household, and may be cross-sharing other streaming accounts with those people ("Hey, I'll give you Netflix, if you give me Hulu!").

A lot of this sharing has to do with cost sensitivity, with most respondents noting that they'd consider Netflix too expensive if the monthly subscription fee rose to over $24 a month. In worse news for Netflix, 79% of those using shared accounts said they would not pay if Netflix banned account sharing.

The news of the Netflix surcharge test came just two months after it started raising prices across the board. The top tier is now priced at $19.99 – which is getting perilously close to that $24 opt-out threshold for many Netflix subscribers.

The study is interesting, but it's hard to imagine anyone walking away from streaming Bridgerton, the next Squid Game, Love is Blind or any of these 30 awesome Netflix shows if they were forced to pay more, or actually pay for the streams they're consuming.

For now, though, no one has to make that hard choice. Netflix is leaving US sharers alone, at least for today.

Lance Ulanoff
Editor At Large

A 38-year industry veteran and award-winning journalist, Lance has covered technology since PCs were the size of suitcases and “on line” meant “waiting.” He’s a former Lifewire Editor-in-Chief, Mashable Editor-in-Chief, and, before that, Editor in Chief of and Senior Vice President of Content for Ziff Davis, Inc. He also wrote a popular, weekly tech column for Medium called The Upgrade.

Lance Ulanoff makes frequent appearances on national, international, and local news programs including Live with Kelly and Ryan, the Today Show, Good Morning America, CNBC, CNN, and the BBC.