Netflix's New Password-Sharing Fee: Here's What Chileans Think Of It
Chile is once again ahead of the rest of the world when it comes to something: the South American country was doing lockdowns, masks, and widespread social upheavals in 2019, before it was cool. Now, it's just been announced that, along with Costa Rica and Peru, Chile will be used to "test" a Netflix's new password-sharing policy, which will force users to pay an extra $2.99 if they want to let someone use their account from outside their household, be it a cash-strapped sibling, an internet-illiterate parent, or a long-forgotten ex hiding in the "kids" profile.
So how is Chile taking the news? Uh, not well. #ChaoNetflix (#ByeNetflix) became the region's top trend on Twitter after the announcement, with hundreds of people tweeting screenshots of their Netflix account cancellation screens. The most common reasons for pulling the plug were "unfair charges," "growing fees," and "because you're #@$%ing thieves."
"HBO," "Amazon," and "Apple TV" also became popular trends over the weekend, especially after the latter service sent out an email reminding users in Chile that they can get as promiscuous as they want with their password:
The official Twitter account for HBO Max Latin America, meanwhile, tweeted out a simple "Hola" to welcome in new users:
But a significant number of users are turning to a different option: Cuevana, a piracy website whose popularity had actually decreased in recent years due to Netflix's massive reach in the area.
Bear in mind that Chileans have historically been pretty cool with pirating everything that can possibly be pirated, from movies to books to clothes to perfumes, to the point that the U.S. named the country in its priority watch list for worst piracy offenders in 2011. However, on that same year, Netflix arrived in the area and became more popular than initially expected due to the simple convenience of being able to watch your favorite movies and shows without inviting 20 Russian hackers into your PC. Netflix had 528,000 users in Chile in 2017 -- by 2021, that number had almost doubled to 927,000. A 2018 poll named Netflix as Chileans' preferred way of consuming media online, so it would take a lot to undo that goodwill ... but, apparently, they're pulling that off.
It also doesn't help that there's a growing impression among Chilean users that Netflix's catalogue has, well, gone to hell recently (due to other services like HBO Max and Disney+ stealing some popular franchises). Even Blockbuster's old shelves are starting to look better in comparison.
Such is the furore over this issue in Chile that the two biggest consumer protection groups in the country, CONADECUS and SERNAC, have promised they'll look into it. It remains to be seen if all the online hoopla will hurt Netflix's numbers (which would probably make them reconsider taking this new policy global) or if all those cancelled users on Twitter are just sharing the same couple of screenshots for internet points while secretly continuing to binge Bridgeton. Chile, once again, the future of the world is in your hands.
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Top image: Netflix