Netflix CEO Reed Hastings has promised that any crackdown on illicit password-sharing the streaming giant decides to launch across its global footprint won’t be done in an aggressive manner.
Hastings comments come in the wake of news last month that Netflix, which has historically looked the other way on password sharing, was testing a feature “designed to help ensure that people using Netflix accounts are authorized to do so.”
The news was met with a lot of questions and concerns about how it would all work. Hastings, speaking during his company’s first-quarter earnings interview Tuesday, says they won’t be taking too hard of a line stance on misuse of its service:
“We’ll test many things, but we would never roll out something that feels like ‘turning the screws’…. It’s gotta feel like it makes sense to consumers, that they understand.”
Netflix has not yet taken broad steps to shut down password-sharing activity, aside from the restrictions in its terms of service prohibiting shared credentials.
COO and chief product officer Greg Peters says the password test will be conducted “iteratively” and the results will inform how Netflix proceeds.
The comments come as Netflix fell short of expected streaming subscriber gains in the year’s first quarter – adding about 4 million compared with its previous 6 million forecast.
Recent surveys indicate around 1 in 4 U.S. Netflix subscribers share passwords with another household which technically violates Netflix’s terms of service.