Ending password sharing is a 'growth opportunity' for Netflix

Sharing your Netflix password isn’t a problem for the company.

In fact, it might even be an asset.

“Almost half of the respondents that share a password to access the service indicated that they would pay for their own subscription if they were no longer able to share an account,” John Janedis, analyst at Jefferies, said in a note to clients.

That means if Netflix decided to, they could start limiting password sharing on the platform to increase their subscriber numbers. Users who got hooked on the streaming service relying on a friend’s or family member’s account would then, in theory, be forced to become paying subscribers.

It’s estimated that 65% of Netflix users share their account with another person, with 19% of users sharing with three or more people.

Right now, user growth at Netflix is rising, especially after expanding into 130 new countries at the beginning of 2016, meaning the company is likely not too worried about password sharing. But, if growth were to ever slow down, cutting down on the number of users per account could force freeloaders to start paying for their own accounts.

“Although we do not believe the company is currently focused on limiting password sharing, we believe this could be a longer term growth opportunity for the company,” Janedis said.

Most recently, the company implemented a price bump for users that had grandfathered plans. In a survey of users, Janedis found that a price bump is the biggest reason a current Netflix user would jump ship, and the biggest reason why non-subscribers haven’t joined yet.

Janedis sees shares of Netflix falling to $80 in the next year, while the company opened at $98.52 Friday. So far this year, shares have fallen 10.5%.

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