UAE: Netflix restricts password sharing; residents plan to downgrade package, switch platforms

The streaming platform clarified that an 'account is meant to be shared by people who live together in one household'


Nasreen Abdulla

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Published: Sun 23 Jul 2023, 4:23 PM

Last updated: Mon 24 Jul 2023, 2:17 PM

South African expat Sarah Tiry finds Netflix a family affair and shares an account with her sisters in Cape Town. Although the password-sharing ban is yet to be enforced in her household, she anticipates it will take effect soon. And when it does, Sarah doubts she will sign up for the platform, "I don't think I will get my account. While I watch it quite often, I know I don't use it enough to warrant subscribing for myself."

Sarah is one of many Netflix customers thinking about switching streaming platforms or downgrading their plans after the company's new crackdown on password sharing, which launched in the UAE over the weekend.

This is an extension of the streaming giant's crackdown in different parts of the world and several UAE residents have received notifications asking for confirmation on their primary devices.

According to Netflix website, it has been clarified that an "account is meant to be shared by people who live together in one household" and that those living in different households must sign up for their own accounts.

Sarah Tiry with her sister. Photo: Supplied
Sarah Tiry with her sister. Photo: Supplied

Sarah's hesitance in opening her account also stems from the need for a variety of content on Netflix. South African national feels like there needs to be more worthy shows for her preteen son to watch on the platform. "My son is 11 and he doesn't find anything interesting on Netflix. He prefers either YouTube or Disney+. So, when it comes to getting a new subscription, the chances are more that my husband and I will opt for Disney+. I do wish though, that instead of banning it outright, Netflix had introduced a family-sharing option. That might have prompted us to sign on."

Netflix offers an option for users to add an extra member to their account for $7.99 per month. However, this service is currently not available in the UAE as per the streaming service’s website.

Meanwhile, Dubai resident and primary account holder Areeb Siddiqui has adopted a wait-and-watch policy. “I have a Netflix account which I share with my family,” he said. “However, I have some misgivings. For example, I travel a lot for work, and I sometimes watch Netflix on a flight or abroad. Will this mean my family back home cannot watch Netflix when I log in? My wife, who spends at least a quarter of the year with her family in Canada and the children, also uses our account there.”

According to Areeb, with these limitations, he is considering downgrading his account. “I have the Premium account so we could all share it on different devices,” he said. “But with the new rules, I will downgrade it to the basic account because there will be no point in having it on different devices if they all have to be on the same IP address.”

Netflix had earlier revealed that it could detect and restrict password-sharing by noting the WiFi network and IP address of devices in its platform.


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