The Netflix Password Sharing Fiasco Is More Annoying Than We Thought

Photo Illustration by Luis G. Rendon/The Daily Beast
Photo Illustration by Luis G. Rendon/The Daily Beast

This is a preview of our pop culture newsletter The Daily Beast’s Obsessed, written by editor Kevin Fallon. To receive the full newsletter in your inbox each week, sign up for it here.

This week:

  • Stanning for Pam.

  • More Netflix chaos.

  • Jarring Bravo news.

  • Amazing Jen and Julia news.

  • Pink & Kelly <3

What Is Netflix Doing?

Trend forecasters and economic analysts are once again predicting a massive migration of adults in their twenties, thirties, and perhaps even forties—all going back home to live with their parents. The reasoning this time, as far as I can tell, is not because of a recession, debt, or job opportunities. It is to continue using their parents’ Netflix account.

The juggernaut streamer, my best friend and greatest nemesis, is unveiling a plan that would crack down on the number of subscribers who share their passwords with others. Like the gross inaccuracies of the “good by” date on containers of lettuce and the countdown clock for the next train on the subway platform, this is yet another egregious blow to my trust issues.

This isn’t some naive delusion that we all have the right to freeload; it is a legitimate act of betrayal. For years, Netflix advertised and encouraged password sharing, embracing it as part of its growth strategy. Now, it’s taking away the love it gave.

The new rules will require subscribers to choose a “primary location,” and anyone who uses that password will have to log into the Wi-Fi at that location once a month. (This all started when these new terms were first uploaded to a FAQ page in a handful of foreign countries, which the company later said were erroneously posted. But given Netflix had already announced that it would begin charging for password sharing this year, U.S. customers saw the writing on the wall—and hysteria ensued.)

Are college students going to start figuring the cost of monthly travel home into their student loan applications? Is my frequent flyer status about to become platinum-elite-diamond? Are all of my family members, our exes, and assorted randos (someone started a profile called “C” in our family Netflix account years ago, and no one can figure out who it is: A24’s next horror film) going to all now live together in one, password-sharing commune?

I’m only half-kidding that people would sooner do these things than pay for their own Netflix accounts.

There are other annoyances, like what to do if you travel a lot and can’t sign into your own “primary location.” Actor Justice Smith lamented that he has appeared on Netflix shows for which the shoots were so long that he would presumably be locked out of his own Netflix account during filming. There are, of course, loopholes for this in Netflix’s plan, but it doesn’t mean that they’re not annoyances just the same. And guess what we already have enough of in the world: Annoyances! Let me watch New Girl episodes while I fall asleep using my dad’s Netflix account in peace!

<div class="inline-image__credit">Twitter Screenshot</div>
Twitter Screenshot

This is going to be a seismic test not just for Netflix, but the whole industry. Netflix is HUGE. Whenever I recommend a TV show or movie, the immediate response I get is, “When will it be on Netflix?” If the service decides to spotlight a title in its algorithm, subscribers will watch no matter how good or bad it is, like streamer lemmings. (Hence You People and Ginny & Georgia being the top movie and series right now.) Even Blonde is now an Oscar-nominated film.

But is that enough of a lifestyle habit to convince people who had been sharing passwords to suddenly factor their own personal subscription into their budgets? Is seeing the next season of Stranger Things that important? (That said, Girls5eva is supposedly coming to Netflix this month. Everyone subscribe immediately. It’s worth it.)

Pamela Anderson’s Redemption: We Should Be Ashamed of How She Was Treated

The Legacy Is in Question!

When the Page Six report hit, my hand started shaking like I was holding a bottle of alcohol in a Miami hotel room, because I had to break the news that, “It’s about Tom.” I fell into a rosebush. My wrap dress came undone, and my left tit fell out. According to Page Six this week, Bravo’s attempt to create a Real Housewives of New York: Legacy series featuring franchise veterans like Luann de Lesseps, Dorinda Medley, and Sonja Morgan was at a standstill. In fact, it might not happen at all, because the cast wouldn’t agree to the contract (aka the money).

Hasn’t God taken enough from us?

<div class="inline-image__credit">Bravo</div>

It’s a juicy report, and who knows how much of it is actually true, as it’s all anonymously sourced. But my favorite part is, after detailing which cast members were demanding more money and which were happy to sign on the dotted line, there was this gem of a detail about my queen, the Lady Morgan: “Sources say Morgan was barely paying attention to the whole affair.”

In any case, since then, Andy Cohen has cryptically posted on social media that you should not to believe everything you read, three of the women staged an epic PR stunt by having lunch together, and I would be shocked if we don’t see some version of this show, in one form or another.

$50 Million Is Not Enough

Once in a while, when I’m scrolling through my cursed social media timelines, I come across a news headline that makes me pause, lightly clap my hands together, and whisper, “Yayyyy.” That happened this week, when I saw that Julia Roberts and Jennifer Aniston will be starring together in a new comedy for Amazon.

There are few details beyond that, other than it will be written and directed by Palm Springs’ Max Barbakow and will be a “body swap comedy.” Finally, decades of Julia Roberts honing her Rachel from Friends impersonation pays off.

Puck’s Matthew Belloni reported in his newsletter this week that Roberts and Aniston will earn $25 million each for the project, plus extra producing fees, for the project. That seems like an exorbitant amount of money, but counterpoint: It’s not enough. Open up Fort Knox. Give it all to them. It’s what they deserve.

<div class="inline-image__credit">Disney</div>

I’m Not Emotionally Ready

On Monday, the full hour of The Kelly Clarkson Show will be devoted to Pink performing songs and sharing stories with Clarkson, who will also jump in for some duets. They’ve already released one clip of them singing “What About Us?” that is absolutely masterful. (Watch it here.)

<div class="inline-image__credit">Twitter Screenshot</div>
Twitter Screenshot

Honestly, what are our priorities as a nation? Replace the Super Bowl with this.

What to watch this week:

80 for Brady: The cinematic event we’ve all been waiting for is finally here. (Now in theaters)

Knock at the Cabin: The new horror film stars Jonathan Groff and Ben Alridge as a couple, raising the question of how scared and horny I can be at the same time. (Now in theaters)

You: Get your hot psychopath fix in, while you still have a password you can use. (Thurs. on Netflix)

What to skip this week:

The Grammy Awards: This telecast has been a disaster for years. (Sun. on CBS)

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