Netflix has fallen on hard times. Earlier this year it started bleeding subscribers, prompting much internal panic and belt-tightening. Gone (probably) are the days where they fork over a fortune for some blockbuster that doesn’t even get released in theaters. (At the same time, they’re only granting Glass Onion: A Knives Out Mystery a one measly week in the nation’s multiplexes.) There’s even a watered-down, ad-supported version now. They’ve also tried to crack down on password-sharing, without much success. Now they’re trying something else to save the ship.
As per Variety, on Tuesday the streamer unveiled a new, exciting feature. It’s called “Manage Access and Devices,” and it allows users to identify all the devices they’re currently signed into and sign out of any they’re no longer using. It’s really helpful for anyone who signed into their account while traveling then forgot to sign out. That’s the angle Netflix is taking when pitching the new feature.
“With the busy holiday season just around the corner, many of our members will be on the move and watching Netflix wherever they are traveling to see family and friends,” boasted product manager Charles Wartemberg in a blog post. “Logging in to your account while at a hotel or even your friend’s house is easy and intuitive, but lots of people then forget to log out.”
Read between the lines, though, and you can see another, more pressing issue for Netflix. The company has estimated that there are over 100 million non-paying households worldwide signed into Netflix, i.e., streaming off of a password that’s been shared with them. There are more than 30 million such users in North America alone.
There is another reason for the feature’s existence: It will help subscribers feel more confident that their accounts are secure — that someone piggybacking off of their subscription isn’t maxing out their stream limit (if they have such a plan) or making unwanted changes. But in the end, it might prove more beneficial for the big streamer itself.