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TV CRITIC'S CORNER

Netflix is going to crack down on account sharing

“Today’s widespread account sharing (100M+ households) undermines our long term ability to invest in and improve Netflix, as well as build our business,” Netflix said in its fourth-quarter earnings statement.Gene J. Puskar/AP/file

Sharing is caring and all that. But I think some people are going to be swearing about the despairing news: Netflix is putting its subscribers on alert that it will be cracking down on account sharing in the coming months. All good things, as they say, must come to an end.

According to the Hollywood Reporter, the crackdown will allow sharing only within one household, and not with multiple external users. If you want to share your Netflix with your kids in college or your auntie in Billerica, you’re going to have to pay an extra fee (the amount of which has not yet been announced).

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“Today’s widespread account sharing (100M+ households) undermines our long term ability to invest in and improve Netflix, as well as build our business,” Netflix said in its fourth-quarter earnings statement. “While our terms of use limit use of Netflix to a household, we recognize this is a change for members who share their account more broadly.”

It’s hard to believe that such a world-changing service, which currently has more than 231 million subscribers globally, needs more revenue. But such is the world of corporate money and stock prices. This sharing move and last year’s cheaper ad tier are Netflix’s way of recovering from the hit it took last year, when its stock price plummeted.

Will this new sharing policy alienate loyal subscribers, especially now that the streamer is short on exciting original series, and now that there are so many good streaming alternatives? Maybe not. Netflix has already experimented with sharing cuts in Latin America, according to the company’s statement: “From our experience in Latin America, we expect some cancel reaction in each market when we roll out paid sharing, which impacts near term member growth. But as borrower households begin to activate their own standalone accounts and extra member accounts are added, we expect to see improved overall revenue, which is our goal with all plan and pricing changes.”

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Matthew Gilbert can be reached at matthew.gilbert@globe.com. Follow him on Twitter @MatthewGilbert.