Ross: A creative alternative to cracking down on Netflix password sharing

Apr 21, 2022, 7:14 AM | Updated: 12:39 pm
(Getty Images)
(Getty Images)

The trajectory of Netflix stock has been very sad lately.

When the pandemic hit, and it was clear we’d be staying home with nothing to do but watch TV, the number of subscribers ballooned, and so did the stock price. It hit a high last November at $678 a share. But by this week it had fallen to $226.

For those of you who bought the stock it back in October 2010 — you’re still sitting on a tenfold return. But, it’s still painful to see wealth disappear.

That’s why Netflix is having to look for other ways to make money, like possibly including commercials. They wouldn’t necessarily have to interrupt with spot breaks — maybe just a little product placement. Go back and superimpose Apple computers on episodes of “The Office.” In “True Grit,” all the Rifles could be Smith & Wesson.

But then there’s the other option — cracking down on shared passwords, which would be too bad, because Netflix has only itself to blame for this password sharing.

I noticed that back in 2020, Kasey Moore, who writes for “What’s On Netflix,” issued a challenge to subscribers to try to watch everything available on Netflix.

At the time, Netflix had 2.2 million minutes of content. Subscribers figured that’s what they’re paying for, so they wanted to see it all. But with 2.2 million minutes, it would take one person a little over four years of continuous watching to see it all and get their money’s worth, which is almost impossible. The most you could watch at one sitting is eight hours, and if you have a job it would be more like four hours.

At that point, we’d be talking 24 years to watch it all and get your money’s worth. Not practical. And so, people started sharing their passwords so they could get some help getting their money’s worth.

But don’t worry, Netflix — there’s a way out of this: just charge by the minute. That way, customers only pay for what they need, and no one’s under pressure to watch it all.

Obviously no one would share their passwords, and even if they did, you’d still make money.

I even have the slogan — “only pay for what you need.” Unless it’s already taken.

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Ross: A creative alternative to cracking down on Netflix password sharing