Netflix tests out a possible password-sharing crackdown

Company’s most basic plan costs $9 monthly

FILE - This June 24, 2015, file photo, shows the Netflix Apple TV app icon, in South Orange, N.J. Netflix reports financial results on Monday, April 18, 2016. Sports are on hold, movie theaters are closed and so are amusement parks. But Americans held captive at home by the coronavirus can turn to Netflix, Amazon, Hulu and other streaming services, outliers in an entertainment industry otherwise brought to an unprecedented standstill. (AP Photo/Dan Goodman, File) (Copyright 2020 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.)

NEW YORK – Netflix is testing a way to crack down on password sharing.

The popular streaming service has been using popups to ask some users to verify their account via email or text, or to “verify later."

“If you don’t live with the owner of this account, you need your own account to keep watching,” the screen reads, according to Streamable.com, which first reported the test.

The test comes as streaming services proliferate and more people share passwords and services. Netflix confirmed the test, but did not say how many people were part of the test or if it was only in the U.S. or elsewhere.

“This test is designed to help ensure that people using Netflix accounts are authorized to do so," the company said in a statement.

On the most basic plan, which costs $9 monthly, users can only stream on one screen at a time. The most popular plan, which is now $14 monthly, allows two simultaneous streams; the $18 premium plan allows 3.

But there has never been a limit on sharing an account when you aren't streaming at the same time.

Competition has definitely heated up in entertainment streaming, with recent entrants running from Disney+ in 2019 to Paramount+ most recently. Still, Netflix remains the one to beat with more than 200 million subscribers globally.