Hoping to combat the rising tide of socialist sharing that’s swept this country ever since Barack Obama took office and was possessed by Hugo Chavez’s ghost, Netflix has taken steps to address the estimated 10 million people who watch its service for free by using someone else’s password. Those people will now be encouraged to use the site’s new $11.99-per-month “family plan”—the evoking of home and hearth in the name presumably meant to shame you into paying an extra $4, so that up to four users can legitimately stream on four separate devices at once, rather than just continuing to steal and break your mother’s heart.
Officially, this new “family plan” is meant to aid larger households who supposedly run into the $7.99 plan’s limit on two streaming devices, bringing families closer by allowing them all to watch their Netflix separately and never have to talk to each other. But obviously, it’s mostly targeted at the millions of people—roommates, coworkers, friends, lovers, sleeper cells, barbershop quartets, human centipedes—who still think it’s “cool” to share, then pay the price of being booted off the system and also watching America die. Instead, now they will pay $4.
Unlike our sense of pride, however, all that sharing doesn’t seem to have hurt Netflix: It’s currently enjoying huge subscriber numbers—bigger even than HBO in America, at a rate of 29.1 million to the latter’s 28.7 million. (Though HBO still has a much larger global reach, and episodes of The Sopranos.) Some of that can be attributed to its original content: Netflix is still cagey about specific numbers, but the debut of Hemlock Grove apparently outperformed even House Of Cards despite being fucking awful, and the success of both—though they only had a “gentle” impact on subscription growth—has encouraged the company to increase the focus on original content, considering adding up to 20 or more new shows a year.
And, as always, it’s going to need it: Netflix is also allowing its deal with Viacom to expire at the end of May, taking with it numerous Comedy Central, MTV, BET, and Nickelodeon shows. And while the company says it will consider pursuing licenses for individual shows, in the immediate aftermath it threatens to leave millions of parents without SpongeBob SquarePants to babysit. Fortunately, there’s still the company’s exclusive Disney content—and besides, in this sharing, socialist society, you can always just drop your kids off at the nearest work camp. You need to earn those extra $4 per month somehow.