Tuesday, June 13, 2023

YouTube TV cracks down on password sharing ... maybe

A week or so ago, there was a report from Cord Cutters News that YouTube TV had begun cracking down on password sharing. This came on the heels of Netflix cracking down, and reports that subscription numbers are up as a result.

CCN said the streaming service had begun enforcing existing rules:

YouTube TV has always put limits on its account-sharing feature. YouTube TV clearly says it is only for people living in the home. So your family that live outside of the primary account location are not allowed to use the account-sharing feature of YouTube TV. You can use YouTube TV outside your home, but you are supposed to bring that device back to your home location every 90 days.

Now YouTube TV has started to crack down on people sharing their YouTube TV account with people living outside of their home. Over the last few weeks a growing number of people have reported their friends and family have woken up to error messages on YouTube TV. These messages inform them that they need to buy their own YouTube TV subscription or return to their home location to continue using YouTube TV.

More recently, word came that Netflix had seen an uptick in subscriptions after its crackdown:

According to Netflix, 100 million people around the world access Netflix through a friend or family member's account.

This news comes as Netflix had seen two consecutive quarters of subscriber losses. Now with the password-sharing crackdown, Netflix has seen that number turn around and is once again adding subscribers.

To be sure, not everyone is subscribing. Some are dropping the service. However, I believe that many that say they'll drop the service won't follow through. Netflix seems to have made a decision that, at least in the short term, has increased the number of subscribers.

However, all of that is countered by a Tom's Guide report that the supposed crackdown by YouTube TV is simply a glitch that the company is working to resolve:

And YouTube's own account actually responded, writing "Just wanted to give an update — engineering is aware of this & is currently looking into how to fix it." That account also offered a temporary solution: "If you remove the family member & re-add them then they should be able to login again."

This reply, plus the lack of any official statement from YouTube TV about account sharing, makes it seem like nothing's actually certain about a potential password-sharing crackdown.

So, that's the actual deal? Who knows? My Streaming Life does not include Netflix or YouTube TV currently, so whatever is going on doesn't impact me. But it may very well impact you. And we need to keep an eye on this situation.

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