Splitflix: A Netflix Sharing Start-up That’s Crazy… Like A Fox

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When I first saw the pitch for Splitflix over the weekend I guffawed a little into my bourbon. The site purports to allow you to “share” your Netflix or Hulu account with a random stranger using a P2P matching system. You and the other person pay half of the cost of the subscription and then enjoy your cheaper streaming accounts.

However, after a bit of digging, as a product it seems solid and as an act of protest, however misguided, it’s sure to get at least a little bit of attention. It’s even technically OK – or at least not prohibited – in the Netflix terms of service:

BY SHARING THE NETFLIX SERVICE PASSWORD, THE ACCOUNT OWNER AGREES TO BE RESPONSIBLE FOR ASSURING THAT HOUSEHOLD MEMBERS COMPLY WITH THE TERMS OF USE AND SUCH ACCOUNT OWNER SHALL BE RESPONSIBLE FOR THE ACTIONS OF THE HOUSEHOLD MEMBERS.

And Hulu didn’t mention password sharing.

To be clear, I don’t think this is a good idea. I think Hulu and Netflix will find some way to stop it and the possibility that two strangers would share an account without driving each other crazy with movie choices is slim to none. Even if we don’t have to watch the same thing, I’d still go nuts if all I saw were Van Damme flicks in my shared Recently Watched list. I could also foresee a situation where one member of team Splitfix stops paying, but the damage would be limited in that case. You’re also going to be limited in what you do with the site later as I suspect a sale is out of the question.

As a money saving opportunity I applaud Splitflix for giving this a shot. The site is in beta now so there’s no way to “test” it at the moment. There was some talk this summer about cracking down on shared Netflix streams but our anecdotal tests of Netflix and Hulu allowed at least two devices to stream at the same time. It doesn’t seem totally legit, like that picture of the dark overpass with the phrase “Free Hugs” spray-painted on the concrete. But maybe – just maybe – those hugs will be real.