It seems the fun is over for people who have been watching Netflix Inc. (NASDAQ:NFLX) for years using a borrowed account as the company plans a crackdown on password sharing.

Netflix to crackdown sharing of passwords

It seems Netflix has been aware of what has been going, on and now it is time to put that to an end. The company and its password host are piloting a new feature that will see individuals using borrowed accounts barred from enjoying the content. Netflix will send a pop-up message to users the company feels are watching using someone’s account. The message prompts people to sign up for their accounts by saying, “if you don’t live with the owner of the account, you need your account to keep watching. These tests have been designed to ensure only authorized users are watching through a given account.

Competition has been ramping up as media and tech companies focus on the industry, churn rising, and the likelihood of growth flattening it will be challenging to grow subscription and viewership for Netflix. As a result, to keep viewers and ensure those watching pay for the service, the company will crack down on sharing passwords. It appears that Netflix password sharing will soon become a source of nostalgia.

Netflix has over 204 million subscribers globally

In its recent earnings report, the streaming giant indicated that it had over 204 million subscribers globally. This is a 22% or 36.5 million addition for the year. Around 73 million of these subscribers are in the company’s home market of the US, indicating that approaching market saturation.

Interestingly knowing the number of accounts sharing passwords beyond the person who pays for the account is impossible to know. However, studies indicate that password sharing is a widespread phenomenon to the point Netflix account sharing has been a rite of passage for teens and twenty-somethings, implying that password freeloaders can run into millions. Over the years, Netflix has dominated the streaming sector, but cracking down passwords is the only option to maintain numbers with intensifying competition.