Bad news for password sharers
NETFLIX is raising its US prices by 13 to 18 per cent, its biggest increase since the company launched its video streaming service 12 years ago.
But don't worry, the price hike only affects customers in the United States and select markets in Latin America and the Caribbean that are billed in US dollars.
"Australians will not see their subscription prices increase," a Netflix spokesperson told news.com.au.
The last time the company increased the monthly subscription price for its Australians members was June 2017. It coincided with the introduction of a digital content tax which applied a 10 per cent GST to overseas videos, games and apps but Netflix also slipped in a further 10 per cent increase of its own at the time.
The 58 million US Netflix subscribers account for nearly half of the company's global customer base. They will see the standard $11 plan go to $13.
The added revenue from the price hike will help Netflix pay for investment in original shows and films and finance the debt it has assumed to ward off rivals such as Amazon, Disney and American telecom giant AT&T.
You've gotta spend money to make money, as they say. And Netflix has certainly done that.
The streaming giant was tipped to spend about US$8 billion ($11 billion) on producing original content in 2018. It also announced in October that it planned to take on US$2 billion in new debt - so the company could definitely do with some extra cash flow.
IS THIS THE END FOR PASSWORD SHARING?
There's a good chance you, or at least someone you know, share a Netflix account by using the same user login and password in different households.
But those days could be numbered.
UK software company Synamedia unveiled a new system earlier this month that uses machine learning to sniff out people using shared passwords.
The software is able to analyse factors such as where users log on, what type of device they use and the content being watched to look for patterns that indicate account sharing. The company then gives a probability score to the service provider like Netflix about potential infringers.
Speaking to The Verge, Synamedia's chief technology officer Jean-Marc Racine said a company like Netflix could shut down accounts if it thinks login details are being shared for a profit, such as sharing passwords online. But if it detects more benign password sharing, users might expect an email encouraging them to upgrade their account or change their behaviour.
"The approach is that people tend to be not too punitive about it," Mr Racine said. "They up-sell services instead."
The software platform - called Credentials Sharing Insight - is reportedly being trailed by a number of firms, however Synamedia won't reveal their names.
It would certainly be a good way for Netflix to boost its bottom line without upsetting customers who are doing the right thing.
"Casual credentials sharing is becoming too expensive to ignore. Our new solution gives operators the ability to take action," Mr Racine said in a recent statement.