To the surprise of many, a few years ago, Richard Plepler, HBO’s CEO, said his company did not care if users shared their HBO password with friends and family. It looks like Reed Hastings, Netflix’s CEO, has similar feelings about the sometimes controversial practice of account sharing.
In an announcement that was overshadowed by the company’s massive expansion into 130 new countries, Hastings said his company views subscribers sharing their Netflix passwords as “a positive thing.” HBO’s Pleper once said that he saw account sharing as a “terrific marketing vehicle” for encouraging people to sign up for the service by exposing the product and brand to a wider audience.
It seems Hastings has similar thoughts on Netflix account sharing, explaining that people sharing a Netflix account username and password are likely to go on to become full-fledged subscribers down the line.
To illustrate his feelings, Hastings explained that a child who became exposed to Netflix through a parent’s account could eventually come to owner their own subscription.
“As kids move on in their life, they like to have control of their life, and as they have an income, we see them separately subscribe,” said Hastings to reporters at CES. “It really hasn’t been a problem,” added Hastings, discussing Netflix account sharing in general.
In Hasting’s mind, subscribing to your own Netflix account almost seems like a coming-of-age milestone.
Related reading: Netflix expands to 130 new regions, including Russia, India and South Korea