Adobe Really Wants To Help Netflix With Its Dumb Password Sharing Cash Grab

from the growth-for-growth's-sake dept

We’ve already noted how Netflix’s password sharing crackdown is a dumb cash grab. The company already cordons users off into pay tiers based on a number of different criteria, including how many simultaneous streams a single account can already use at one time. And it just got done imposing a major price hike on most of its subscribers, with more on the way.

Then the company started to see actual competition in the streaming space. Wall Street doesn’t much care that the market has changed, and, as Wall Street always does, demands quarter-over-quarter growth at any cost. So Netflix developed an ingenious plan to nickel-and-dime existing users with additional fees if Netflix determines passwords are being shared outside of the home.

The change hasn’t come to the U.S. yet, but it’s expected to soon. Enforcement overseas has been a bit of a mess, with inconsistent billing, enforcement, and messaging to consumers. It’s all a giant headache for a “problem” Netflix used to make clear wasn’t actually a problem:

Enter Adobe, which apparently thinks it can help Netflix crack down on this nonexistent menace with machine learning systems that study user behavior in intricate detail. To sell Netflix on the idea, Adobe apparently claims that Netflix is suffering somewhere around $9 billion annually in potential losses due to password sharing, which Adobe more clinically dubs “credential sharing”:

Adobe prefers the term ‘credential sharing’ to ‘password piracy’ but doesn’t downplay its implications. Citing a 2020 study, Adobe says that up to 46 million people in the U.S. could be accessing streaming services with credentials that aren’t theirs while paying nothing for the privilege.

Citing potential losses of $9bn per year – three times those of rival Disney+ – Adobe says Netflix suffers most from credential sharing. The company believes that if streaming video is to avoid the fate of streaming music where free content is expected, action is needed sooner rather than later.

I don’t know where Adobe is getting the insane $9 billion estimate from. Other analysts like Cowen and Co have suggested that Netflix stands to make $1.6 billion extra annually from a password sharing crackdown, and even that seems generous.

One, such analysis doesn’t factor in that Netflix is already monetizing password sharing through limits on concurrent streams. Two, users are already facing blanket price hikes and will not be responsive to new hikes, no matter how cleverly they’re messaged. And three, the Cowen estimate believes that half of all password sharers would sign up for a new account, which is overly generous.

Other analysts are highly skeptical that Netflix’s password crackdown pays significant dividends at all:

Benchmark Co. analyst Matthew Harrigan, in a note last week, expressed skepticism that it would be a “growth game-changer,” opining that the strategy “cannibalizes full-ride member growth.” He pegged the incremental revenue lift at less than 4% revenue, even with generous assumptions about how many piggybackers Netflix might be able to convert to Extra Member accounts.

There’s a real risk that Netflix only annoys customers with greater fees and restrictions at a time they’re already losing customers and facing more streaming competition than ever. And with Wall Street demanding growth at any costs, there’s a high chance Netflix pushes its luck on both password sharing and finding annoying ways to monetize the account data Adobe is collecting.

If you’re noticing a lot of egomania, fuzzy numbers, and wishful thinking on Netflix’s part, that’s because as Netflix has shifted from innovation to turf protection, it joined the Motion Picture Association and adopted much of the broader cable, broadcast, and entertainment industry’s (sometimes facts-optional) rhetoric… especially when it comes to the diabolical menace that is password sharing.

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Companies: netflix

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Anonymous Coward says:

Wall Street doesn’t much care that the market has changed, and, as Wall Street always does, demands quarter-over-quarter growth at any cost. So Netflix developed an ingenious plan to nickel-and-dime existing users with additional fees if Netflix determines passwords are being shared outside of the home.

Having see the “quarter-over-quarter growth” term so often, I now choose to read it as “25¢/25¢ growth”.

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Anonymous Coward says:


What is dishonest about using the number of streams that you have payed for? I can think of various reasons why some of those uses would be from a different address, such as being a long distance driver, and away from home for 5 nights a week. Also, those reasons will increase with more remote working, such as staying in town for a night or two when working is split between office and home.

Also, allowing children at college to use the family account is beneficial to Netflix, as otherwise there is a significant risk they will develop other viewing habits, such as relying on YouTube, TikTok etc.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re:

“What is dishonest about using the number of streams that you have payed for?”

Nothing. Netflix offer a service that says I can stream X devices simultaneously. They can stop me streaming if I go over that limit. They can cancel my paid contract if they think I’m violating some clause (I’m not, but they can). I can go elsewhere and use a different legal service.

This is just the “X downloads means X lost sales nonsense” from the Napster days. They fantasised that every download was a lost sale, but failed to take into account reality, which stated that most people don’t buy everything they listen to at full price, sometimes it’s not on sale at all, and people might even “pirate” something they already own for various reasons.

Here, they think that every person who shares someone else’s service will become a subscriber, when in reality they’re as likely to go elsewhere. Which, ironically, includes actual piracy.

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Anonymous Coward says:


So now Techdirt promotes lawlessness and piracy? Whatever happened to “their company, they get to run it as they wish. You don’t like it, find another company.”?

So two things. First Techdirt has always criticized corporations for decision Techdirt thought was bad decisions even if the decision was completely legal. Techdirt has also called out unconstitutional governmental attempts to control corporations. These two things aren’t at odds. It is perfectly reasonable to say “The government shouldn’t be able to compel you not to do this, but I still think you should not do it”.

Second: As the article says, Netflix allows people to have multiple video streams (AND Netflix will restrict that active streams to the correct amount). The issue Techdirt is calling out is essentially Netflix saying “you can have this service, but using it will cost you extra”. There is no endorsement of copyright infringement here. The subject is people using the service that they paid for (which IS what password sharing is. They have already paid to have multiple streams active, and being logged in on multiple devices is a requirement to do that).

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Stephen T. Stone (profile) says:



otherwording (or in-other-wordsing) — noun

  1. Summarizing a point of argument in a way that distorts the point into saying something it does not and attributes the false interpretation to the person who raised the original point.
  2. A blatant attempt to make winning an argument easier for someone who is out of their depth in said argument.

Example: You will often find the phrases “in other words” or “so you’re saying” at the beginning of an instance of otherwording.

See also: strawman; your post

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That Anonymous Coward (profile) says:


“So now Techdirt promotes lawlessness and piracy?”

Did you read a different article, cause I must of missed the links to all the torrent sites offering all the Netflix content & links to explainers on how to safely torrent…

Questioning an imaginary number offered up to make a “problem” appear larger & sell a product that can’t possibly do what it claims well enough to not end up killing the service off isn’t promoting all the evils like you think.

In closing, thanks for playing… if you’re the starting lineup you should expect to end up traded pretty quickly.

melonlord (profile) says:


  1. “Find another company.” Netflix shows are not available anywhere else. TV and movies are not fungible goods; each is unique. There is no alternative service to Netflix with the same offerings. If Netflix becomes inaccessible to people, those people have no other ways to access its goods legally.
  2. “They get to run it as they wish.” Who has ever believed this except oil magnates and robber barons? People routinely criticize businesses for their practices. Public blowback is a critical component of the free market. Consumer rejection drives innovation.
  3. “Lawlessness.” First, piracy does violate copyright laws, but to classify this as “lawlessness” is hyperbole. Second, Techdirt writing an article about Netflix doing something harmful to consumers only “promotes” piracy in the same way that criticizing a grocery store for high prices “promotes” shoplifting.

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Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

“They get to run it as they wish” is exactly what Techdirt has promoted in numerous articles regarding content moderation on social media websites. If you don’t like it, your beef is with Techdirt not me.

You want to steal, but you just can’t own it. I get it. That little voice inside your head keeps telling you it’s wrong, and cognitive dissonance takes over. It sucks to have a conscience, but it sucks even more to be a sociopath without one.

You people are like alcoholics who deny you have a problem. Well, confession cleanses the soul. “I am a thief. It has been 300 days since I last stole content from numerous people who were necessary to develop it.”

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Rocky says:

Re: Re: Re:

“They get to run it as they wish” is exactly what Techdirt has promoted in numerous articles regarding content moderation on social media websites. If you don’t like it, your beef is with Techdirt not me.

Let me blow your mind here: You can affirm a company’s legal rights while pointing out their failings and criticizing their decisions. This isn’t hard to understand unless you don’t want to understand it. Or perhaps you are of the belief that just because you don’t like a company they shouldn’t have the rights the law gives them?

You want to steal, but you just can’t own it. I get it. That little voice inside your head keeps telling you it’s wrong, and cognitive dissonance takes over. It sucks to have a conscience, but it sucks even more to be a sociopath without one.

A suggestion here: Stop listening to that little voice in your head that only speaks in strawman.

You people are like alcoholics who deny you have a problem. Well, confession cleanses the soul. “I am a thief. It has been 300 days since I last stole content from numerous people who were necessary to develop it.”

Riddle me this: If I have a Netflix account that allows for 5 consecutive streams, if my family uses all 5 streams – what did I steal and who lost money?

You talk about cognitive dissonance, but you totally missed the obvious dissonance in your post. One can infer that you think social media shouldn’t be allowed to moderate as they see fit because users should be able to use others property against their wishes but you have no problems saying it’s wrong for a customer to fully use what they paid for.

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melonlord (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

  1. Provide links to these “numerous articles” and explain why they promote the idea that corporations should be immune from public criticism for their decisions.
  2. You’re responding to a version of my comment where I expressed unqualified support for piracy. Please provide a link to this comment. Thanks!
  3. I think this is the first time that someone has equated criticism of a corporation with alcoholism since Prohibition. We’re looking at an American classic here, folks. Take a screenshot for posterity.
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PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

““They get to run it as they wish” is exactly what Techdirt has promoted in numerous articles regarding content moderation on social media websites.”

OK. Now point to the part where it’s said that people can’t criticise them for the decisions they make.

“You want to steal, but you just can’t own it”

These are rental services, and by definition people have to pay for the service to share it. I’m guessing that if this were somehow a 1978 website, you’d be railing against video rental stores and saying they’re stealing because not every customer is paying $100+ to buy every movie they watch.

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PaulT (profile) says:


“So now Techdirt promotes lawlessness and piracy?”

I don’t speak hallucinating idiot, unfortunately. Can you explain how allowing other people to use what you paid for equals criminal activity? At worst, it’s a violation of a civil contract, which in the case of Netflix was actively encouraged until recently.

“Whatever happened to “their company, they get to run it as they wish”

Nothing. People can still criticise them or take their business elsewhere if they disagree. Which, I assume that you’ll still blame on piracy when they take you up on that offer, even if people just start using Tubi instead of Netflix.

“If you’re going to steal, at least be honest about what you’re doing.”

Again, explain how using a service that’s been paid for is stealing. I pay for X devices. The irony with you people is that if you’d have got your way, libraries and video rental stores would never have existed, yet they made so much money for the corporations you worship once they stopped fighting.

The problem with you people is that you not only accuse anyone with better ideas than you of piracy, you do it to the people paying you money.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

Thieving is depriving one’s actual property especially stealthily. Theres no secret and no actual property is deprived I see here. Dont fit. Government-enforced copying monopoly is not actual property but fantasy property. infringement of that said monoploy is not a crime. You know, crime like something you do that you go to jail for. It’s like you are accusing him of being non-criminal fantasy thief. LOL who cares. Only copyright cult morons would say that.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

This has nothing to do with loyalty. I’ve never had a subscription to Netflix, and I probably never will. It’s easy to look at large, faceless corporations as evil entities, not worthy of deference to ethics as would be afforded to say, your neighbor, butcher, or the local grocery store.

Though Netflix is made up of individuals supporting themselves and their families means (whether through artistic, content creation or administration) little to the likes of you, some of us are willing to do the right thing and pay or way for the services that we use.

Even a child can grasp this truth.

melonlord (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2

You’re totally right. Netflix cracking down on people sharing accounts is such a great move for the little guy. When corporations hike prices and chase quarterly growth, they’re doing it for those “individuals supporting themselves and their families.” How utterly magnanimous of Netflix. How deeply deserving of “deference to ethics.” But anyway…

If you could go ahead and respond to my actual comment, that’d be great! For your convenience, see attached:

“The key error here is to treat free-riders as potential paying customers, when in reality, most of those people would simply stop using the product and turn to piracy (which is easier now than ever) if they lost free access.”

Thanks in advance!

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PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re:


So, what’s the problem? People who aren’t going to pay either way aren’t losing you money. I remember reading stories back in the day that there was a certain amount of tolerance for pirated copies of Dreamweaver, Photoshop, etc. because companies knew that they can’t force a broke college student to pay for a legal copy, but they can have them get the company they eventually work for to pay for the product they prefer using.

That might be a fable, but the fact is nobody’s saying that they can’t cut off access to people who aren’t paying. They’re saying that it might not be a smart move if the people who can’t afford it move to competitors, and the person paying the bill no longer needs to pay as much for less users.

melonlord (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:

The Adobe example is absolutely true. Copyright scholars have long talked about “tolerated infringement.” Because copyright doesn’t require IP owners to vigorously defend their rights like trademarks do, owners can and do allow some violations where (a) litigation wouldn’t be worth it (interesting to see how much this changes with the new copyright small claims courts), (b) infringement might actually help them gain popularity or get good PR, or (c) they just don’t care about defending their copyright.

Probably the biggest areas of tolerated infringement today are fanfiction and video game streaming. Both probably violate copyright, but IP owners allow it because it benefits them in the long run.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2

Until they don’t.

See: Nintendo, Atlus.

Nintendo is extremely notorious for having insanely strict monetization rules that imply you really should not include alternate means of donating to you OR selling merch that does not have Nintendo’s IP or trademarks in them.

Atlus has actively screwed over streamers with regards to streaming certain games, like publishing streaming rules for Persona 5 12 hours AFTER game release.

And then there’s the insane bullshit in Japan where you have to ASK for permission to stream a game and then pray to the 8 million gods that the IP owner isn’t being a pissy bitch that night. Oh, and ypu can’t make a game with a similar idea on stream and then play said game on stream too, because the IP owner will become a fucking bitch and threaten litigation and all that fun stuff.

I am being dead serious here and not being racist. These events actually happened.

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Hyman Rosen (profile) says:

Before accepting this preduction of failure, look back at the million blog posts on TechDirt claiming that the New York Times paywall was doomed. It has, of course, been wildly successful:

TechDirt sees what it wants to see, not reality.

Mike Masnick (profile) says:


No one gets every prediction correct, but I’d say our track record is actually pretty good.

I actually did a whole podcast discussion about the NY Times paywall situation, and it shows that if you looked at what we actually said, and not your simplification of it, we were actually way more on point than you claim. My argument was that if they didn’t work to build community around it, it would fail. If they instead focused on building community it would work. And, over time, they did build community.

But, you do you.

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That Anonymous Coward (profile) says:

“Citing potential losses of $9bn per year”

Please show your math clearly on another page.

“‘credential sharing’”

Please to clearly define what this term is.

Does it include people stupid enough to pay for 4 streams & allow their child at college to use one of those streams?
Does it include people who pay for 4 streams but then spend weekends at a cottage & use the streams from a different location but never more than 4?

If you want to learn a very important lesson from the music industry (which ZOMG is still making money despite music being free now) attacking your consumers ends poorly for you. Not the only game in town & being an asshole to those willing to pay you means they unsubscribe and find alternative ways to see the content where you make even less.

Changing how things were from the very beginning isn’t something you can just drop without fanfare before hand.

If someone pays for 4 streams explain why it matters where those streams are streamed.
I mean I get you want to force families to purchase multiple accounts but if you think they are willing to do that, your next report to wall street is gonna piss them off way more.

Many of your markets aren’t exactly filled with a well off middle class with lots of disposable income, but if they team up with other families to split the cost of 4 streams 1 per household, you’re doing better than thinking you can force all 4 families to get their own accounts which is most likely outside of their means.
Y’all aren’t food or water, they can do without you and pissing them off means they never come back because they’ll get the content in other ways and keep doing it even if you suddenly decide to stop behaving like brainless assholes.

If an account only pays for 2 streams, sure block them when they try to use 4… but stop pretending it matters if they are only using the 2 streams they are paying for at any locations they want.

You are a luxury & trying to keep wall street happy is killing your business.
You’ve cancelled shows that people actually liked before the first season completely released, because some metric says its not good enough…

How many Resident Evil movies are there? (Hey Mila, hey…)
How many were panned by reviewers? (all of them)
How many are basically cult loved movies and made millions more than they cost?? (all of them)

How many investors are kicking themselves for thinking the bad reviews meant they wouldn’t make anything & they watched other people making big bank off of zombie action flick thats never meant to be a huge blockbuster?

Building a fan base takes more then 4 episodes…

Perhaps instead of listening to Wall Street (look at all the great companies that went tits up trying to appease Wall Street & lost it all) perhaps its time to explain that building a fanbase isn’t something that can happen when a spreadsheet would like it to, that sometimes it take a bit to get people into the swing of it. (The Office, Sienfeld, Freinds) were not super breakouts after 4 episodes, letting the spreadsheet make the decision means you’ll end up giving more to wall street as the creavtives head to other platforms & they take a chance on what becomes the next mega massive hit.

Raziel says:


I mean I get you want to force families to purchase multiple accounts but if you think they are willing to do that, your next report to Wall Street is gonna piss them off way more.

This. If my kids want to watch a DVD at different times, I don’t have to buy them a disc each, so why shouldn’t I share my Netflix password with them so they can watch when they want to?

That Anonymous Coward (profile) says:

Re: Re:

Heh and we won’t even touch on how one can backup an ISO on the home network and watch it on various devices at once…

(What?? Never said I was a good guy, I said I never shook down senior citizens for their social security checks)

Althou if the MPAA got their way you would have to buy each child their own copy that they can only watch 1 tie a month without paying an extra fee, from our discs that are so cheaply made they degrade so you’ll have to buy another one sooner rather than later.

PaulT (profile) says:


“Please show your math clearly on another page.”

I assume it’s the same as the “every download is a lost sale” used previously. Which ignores people who don’t have the money. People who only want one thing and it’s not worth the sub (or encourages them to just use a free trial). People who “pirate” just to get around DRM on something they already paid for, since the DRM infected copy works better.

I have no doubt that some people are abusing this, but it’s likely the same situation where most people who share are doing so for reasons that don’t directly translate into lost income, and cracking down in the wrong way just drives people to competitors or actual piracy.

“If you want to learn a very important lesson from the music industry (which ZOMG is still making money despite music being free now)”

Well… that’s interesting. Music has gone from “buy an album if you want the 3 songs you want to listen to”, to “OK, you can buy just those songs” to “OK, you can stream a rented copy when you want to listen”.

But, the music industry is full of angry complaints about how this means they can’t make as many people as ridiculously rich as they used to and even – shock, horror! – they don’t even have to depend on the old label structure to “make it”. But, they still make a lot of money, it’s just distributed differently and earned differently.

The question is how you deal with new obstacles as they arise. The depressing thing here is that companies like Netflix exist because they identified the problems and offered the solutions. Now, they seem to be falling into the trap of thinking that “lost” revenue (read: money that’s not on a spreadsheet because infinite growth is impossible) can be gained by forcing customers to do what they want instead of offering what the customers want.

“How many Resident Evil movies are there? (Hey Mila, hey…)”

Funny example in this context. There were 6 in the original series you’re referring to, then 2 attempted reboots. While I largely dislike Paul W.S. Anderson’s drooling over his wife nonsense, and wish that George Romero could have made the version he wanted since the games were based on his work, Netflix have apparently cancelled the TV series and the reboot movie wasn’t great.

But, the point stands – basing things only on short term thinking is doomed in the long term.

That Anonymous Coward (profile) says:

Re: Re:

One does wonder if they can call it a lost sale when the stream being watched WAS paid for, and if they are trying to claim that one wonders how brain damaged they are.

The record thing is based on the screams that music was now worthless as EMI got chopped up & purchased for 4 billion. Shareholders would have been out for blood if the company had paid nearly 3 billion of a catalog of worthless music.
Record labels were an amazing example of what not to do in the internet age, yet so many businesses refused to adapt their business models & now are fscked.

Netflix might need to explain to Wall Street that we’re no longer in lockdown & people actually go outside now instead of stream Netflix endlessly. Its not like they make more money the more shows an account streams, so demands for more cash when inflation is freaking people out is more evidence of how Wall Street is completely detached from reality.

Resident Evil movies are awful… and I love them.
From just looking at the early reviews, no investor would have touched the sequels, but there are many people who just want stupid action movies not some 3 hour epic to make us think about our position in the universe… and those people will buy yet another Big Screen Mila Resident Evil.
The humor of the gay guy saying Hey Mila, hey… was lost there.

I dunno if I would have liked a Romero one, the last few of the Dead movies where he was involved were more thinky than zombie horror fun.

The TV series was pulled into way to many directions to hit certain demo targets, rather than just delivering the basis for how Umbrella ruined the world. I get ratings matter but if you just keep pouring more things into it to try and pull in another demographic you dilute what ‘fans’ wanted to watch for.

The reboot movie… there was no reboot movie. It was so ashamed of itself it vanished all on its own.

It did not help Netflix much that much of the content they recently jettisoned were from communities who even on a good day can’t find themselves represented in media and if they do find representation its always something directly out of TV Tropes.

While other streamers are trying to get & control more old content the smart like fox play would be the one creating new content people want. And yes not everything is going to be a smash hit, but even a truly shitty sitcom that showed actual people living funny actual lives and not just some white kids living in $45 million dollar NYC apartments will get a fan base… if it lasts more than 4 episodes before we know its already cancelled and there is no reason to get into it now.

I mean its not like there is now a major motion picture in theatrical release thats SUPER gay… oh wait… Bros.
A movie where I’m not worried that the gays all will end up dead & buried before the end after valiantly saving the str8 folk.

TheResidentSkeptic (profile) says:

When does it become "piracy"??

I have a country home where we keep the horses, and a small 950sf in-town home so I don’t have a multi-hour commute. If the SO is in the country house and I’m in town and we are both watching, isn’t that “family”?? Or is it just because I’m in a different house that it needs to be 2 accounts? What about when on assignment and I choose to live in the Foretravel in a local RV park, using my satellite internet to get to Netflix? Is that still “me” on my primary account, or do I need another account?
If they can’t figure that out, then I can quite easily hit the “Cancel Account” button and find a different source of entertainment.
If it is advertised as “family account, 2 stream limit” then where each of the family members are should have ZERO impact. If it is “2 stream limit from same IP address”, then that is a different answer. Oh wait, I have 2 internet lines – one business, one residential.
Do I need to make sure that none of my devices switch to the other network?
Again, not a “Black and White” easy to solve issue. A lot to work out, a lot of questions, a lot of options.

Anonymous Coward says:


Guess it is now “piracy”.

More things are ever now considered as copyright infringement or piracy or thieving in this Orwellian digital copyright culture since the 90’s no matter how far removed the said thing is from the actual act of unauthorized copying. It was used to like refer to the prohibited act of copying then also the act of distributing of the copies of said prohibited copying without one have anything to do with the copying. Then now in the 2000s its online linking to that said distribution then now in the 2010s its linking to links of that said distribution, regardless of one not having anything to do with the prohibited copying or the distributing. Then now its linking to linking to linking of said distribution and ad nauseam. Then now its merely use of said prohibited copy without one having to do with other mentioned acts. Then now we also have as “copyright infringement”, act of creating, or distribution of that said creation that use “intellectual property” without authorization regardless of the actual digital copying being done such as gameplay videos which itself does not involve the digital copying of the copyrighted game software. Then we now have password-sharing as “copyright infringement” or “piracy” Then now here we have what is regarded as password-sharing regardless the actual password sharing not being actually happening as “copyright infringement” and/or “piracy”.

It doesn’t stop. The piracizing/ thievizing of more people and more acts is getting ridiculous. (I know they are not words yet but should be like criminalizing)
Apparently nowadays it does not matter if you do not do the prohibited copying or distribute the prohibited copies. If you are somehow associated with a copy that was unauthorized or somehow associated with unauthorized access to authorized copies or now this shit with unapproved authorized access to authorized copies, you are “pirates” and “thieves” apparently according to the copyright cult’s religion.

People who are without means to meet the rents the copyright landlords are asking for their wares are not the real problem. The copyright landlords who call others pirates or thieves are the real problem. They are robbers and social parasites. They rob society of wealth and value though their rents which pale to the value they create for society, not to mention other things like the value of our liberty we have to give up for them so they can have their precious monoploy powers which they routinely abuse all the time.

Just because they have the government in their pockets and set the rules through their cronies in government does not mean we have to accept their morality or have to go along with the rules they set for us all the time. We should recognize that their culture they want us to adopt is evil and should not condemn those as “pirates” or “thieves” who just don’t want to go along with the program the copyright cult set up for us.

Anonymous Coward says:


Netflix’s most popular plan costs $15.49/month, and “up to 46 million people” are said to be using someone else’s password. $15.49 × 12 × 46 million gives a result of $8.55 billion. Round that to get the quoted number. It could be $11 billion if you go with the less popular $19.99/month plan.

Of course, those aren’t “losses”; they’re potential income that Netflix didn’t make. The upper bound on loss would be the bandwidth and other costs used by those non-paying customers, assuming the paying customers would continue to pay the same amount were they unable to share credentials. And there’s no way Netflix would ever make anywhere near the quoted numbers; those are the theoretical upper bounds for how banning password sharing could change gross income (without accounting for the increased expenses of more customers—notably, credit card fees—and the decreased income of people moving to plans with fewer “devices”).

There’s a kind of “magical thinking” here, similar to thinking that a ban on roommates would greatly increase rental income (really, there might be a slight increase in income, and a larger increase in homelessness and “stealth roommating” and fleeing to competitors). Hell, I could say Netflix is “losing” $200 billion/year by not charging $100/month for their service. For a million dollars, I’ll hire an MBA to write them an official report saying it.

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re:

“Of course, those aren’t “losses”; they’re potential income that Netflix didn’t make”

Not even potential. I don’t mind admitting I share my Netflix with 2 people. One is a family member, who watches maybe one thing a month if I’m not visiting. The other is a friend, who initially couldn’t afford to subscribe after having a new kid, and now pays for other services the kid wants to use.

The potential income there is actually less than zero. Neither of the people I mentioned would pay for a full monthly sub, and if I don’t have them on my account, I’d downgrade from 4 to 2 devices.

So, by enforcing this, they’re guaranteed to lose money. I have no doubt that there are some people abusing this, but ultimately they have the power to control what people access. If they react incorrectly, people have the ability to stop paying them as much money.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:

So, by enforcing this, they’re guaranteed to lose money.

Well, again, that kind of depends on the definition of “lose”. Some people, if “harrassed”, will go to cheaper plans or cancel altogether. Some who lose their ability to freeload will actually sign up. The net effect will be difficult to predict, but will derive from some combination of “losses” and “gains” (neither side being zero).

There are often perverse incentives that drive people only to care about the gains. Probably some executive will get a huge bonus if they get another hundred thousand subscribers. The cancelations, with the same root cause, are likely handled by another department entirely.(“Retentions”. For many companies, it pays to contact them every year and try to cancel, and then let them “talk you out of it” by giving you a deal—which makes them look good, so they’ll get a bonus too.)

PaulT (profile) says:

Re: Re: Re:2

“Some people, if “harrassed”, will go to cheaper plans or cancel altogether”

So, the chance is zero extra money and less customers. One of the attractive parts of streaming is that you don’t have long term contracts.

“Some who lose their ability to freeload will actually sign up.”

…and many won’t. The question is how many sign up, vs. how many people who pay for 4 devices downgrade.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re:

Fucking kids had better work in the fucking MINES to watch some Netflix!

“And the Union workhouses? […] Are they still in operation?”

“The Treadmill and the Poor Law are in full vigour, then?”

“Oh! I was afraid, from what you said at first, that something had occurred to stop them in their useful course”.

“I can’t afford to make idle people merry. I help to support the establishments I have mentioned: they cost enough; and those who are badly off must go there.”

“If they would rather die […] they had better do it, and decrease the surplus population.”

Anon says:


My wife tries to encourage her elderly parents to use our Netflix account for the occasional shows they might like. generally they haven’t. But if it costs us extra – well, her parents are not about to pay for Netflix. Like much of online piracy way back when – no loss since it would never otherwise default to a revenue stream.

Rocky says:

Re: Re: Re:2

Stealing is wrong regardless of who is affected or the degree of that effect.

You call it stealing so I’ll reiterate the question: Tell us what Netflix was deprived of?

Some introspection might be in order.

Why? I’m asking you a direct question and you deflect while implying I’m ethically challenged. The real problem here is you projecting some kind of behavior on me of which you disapprove of because you couldn’t answer a simple question.

I do wonder who needs some introspection here, because it’s definitely not me.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re:2

I don’t mind paying extra for a convenient way to watch shows.

What I do mind is that Netflix is tring to make it harder to get me to pay for that convenience.

“So pay extra then.”

If only we had enough money to consider ethics. I mean, nationstates discard ethics for other, more tangible things all the time, I should learn from that.

After all, my boss is paid dollars and I get paid pennies, and that’s why I shit while on the clock.

LostInLoDOS (profile) says:

This article is missing the images of TFreak.
What bothers me most is the idea of IP being a key identity.
Knowing here we have two separate internet connections. Both wifi. And equipment bounces between them. Take my cell phone, and you add a third IP when on mobile. My car has always on 4g. If my phone slips on the network it will switch to the car’s ip. There’s 4 right there.

Add free interstate wifi and you could get a half dozen more!

So two kids in the back seat start off on home wifi watching cartoons, switch to cell as they pull away, wind up on interstate wifi at the rest stop, and bounce around in the mountains?

Does adobe really think they can handle that? Accurately?!!

I can think of two cities off the top of my head where this will be a disaster: Denver and Pittsburg. I’m sure there’s more.

PaulT (profile) says:


“What bothers me most is the idea of IP being a key identity.”

Me too, but for different reasons. I tend to travel regularly, and while not as often as I used to can be in a different country to my “home” IP, where someone else may be watching at the same time as me. That’s not even necessarily a flight, I can be in one country within 30 mins drive, 3 hours for another, and a multitude of different places.

Can they know if I’m at work watching in the background on the service I paid for while someone else plays at home? Not by IP, especially if the router recently assigned a different IP, and god knows geoIP records can be faulty. I’ve been a happy Netflix subscriber for a long time, but I do worry that they’ll start charging more/kicking me off because they think I’m sharing when all I’m doing is travelling.

“I can think of two cities off the top of my head where this will be a disaster: Denver and Pittsburg. I’m sure there’s more.”

I’ve had experiences where I’ve been on a bus and been “welcomed” by my phone to Spain, Morocco and Gibraltar within a 30 min ride. Which, of course, have different Netflix libraries available. Good luck sorting that out if I’m silly enough to try streaming (fortunately, Netflix’s download option tends to be pretty solid)

LostInLoDOS (profile) says:

Re: Re:

I didn’t say so here but I did consider your issues in Europe as well when I wrote a less than joyful letter.
None of the share holders had heard anything, and it appears to simply be an Adobe pitch for the moment.

I see no way this can work. Again, I can quickly point to places in the US where a 200 mile, less than 3 hour, ride will give any cell device a dozen different IP addresses. CO, TN/KY, UT, CA, IL/IN
Most European countries are smaller than our average of state size.
What a mess ip tracking would be.

TaboToka (profile) says:

Do it

I pay for the lowest tier, because I live alone, and don’t watch more than one screen at a time.

There are times when I stream on my tablet or phone when I’m not in my house. If they want to make me pay more for those, then it’ll be really cheap for me because I’ll cancel and be done with their trending-towards-shitty-scifi channel level of quality shows.

That One Guy (profile) says:

If you insist...

What I’m hearing from Netflix and now Adobe is that people should stop paying for multiple concurrent streams since they’re increasingly likely to be charged for actually using their account to the fullest.

Strange they’d want to undercut their own profits like that by pushing people to the most basic and cheap version of their service but you do you Netflix.

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