13 Secrets Netflix Doesn't Want You to Know

From company plans to crack down on password sharing to the easiest way to revamp your recommendations, here are 13 secrets every Netflix user should know.

people watching netflix on tv
Updated May 28, 2024
Fact checked

We receive compensation from the products and services mentioned in this story, but the opinions are the author's own. Compensation may impact where offers appear. We have not included all available products or offers. Learn more about how we make money and our editorial policies.

Netflix is one of the major players when it comes to online streaming. It may even be the major player since the streaming service currently boasts about 220 million subscribers.

Though the company started as a DVD delivery service, Netflix has now changed the game when it comes to how millions around the world consume movies and television.

Naturally, a company that large is not without its secrets. Here are 13 facts and hacks to help you avoid money stress by getting the most out of your subscription.

It’s cracking down on shared passwords

Rafael Henrique/Adobe padlock over the logo of Netflix

Even though Netflix’s “standard” subscription option says users can watch on two different devices at one time, the company is still planning to crack down on password sharing between households. Currently, the company is testing out the crackdown in certain South American countries.

The idea is, if an account is found to be password sharing, the main account holder will be given the option to add up to two friends for an extra $2.99 per month — quite the hike when Netflix is already one of the pricer subscription services.

You can find specific content with codes

daviles/Adobe man watching streaming series

If you’re a longtime Netflix subscriber, you’ve probably noticed that sometimes when you log in your recommendations will include a lot of content you’re not interested in. It may be Netflix originals the company is pushing, or whatever they’ve decided to promote that week, but it’s simply not to your taste.

Instead of flipping through the recommendations Netflix makes, go to www.netflix.com/browse/genre/XXXX and enter your genre codes in place of XXXX. You can find romantic dramas (1255), spy thrillers (9147), sci-fi and fantasy (1492), and more. Check out this full list of codes.

Pirating services inspire shows

metamorworks/Adobe woman choosing video content to watch

Netflix executives have openly admitted that they look at what is doing well on pirating services to help them decide which TV shows and movies to purchase.

Speaking to Forbes in 2013, a top content acquisition executive explained that the company decided to acquire the rights to the show “Prison Break” in the Netherlands purely because of how popular it was on pirating sites in the area.

It’s been sued for closed captioning issues

Drobot Dean/Adobe young indian man watching television

Netflix has gotten heat several times over accessibility issues with its shows. In 2011, the National Association of the Deaf sued the company, stating that it did not offer a closed-captioning option for the majority of its shows.

Even as Netflix promised to improve its closed-captioning services, complaints have continued to roll in over the past few years, noting that the captions leave out dialogue or are otherwise unsatisfactory.

11 Legit Ways to Make Extra Cash

Its content library is shrinking

metamorworks/Adobe woman browsing films

With the popularity of streaming has come stiff competition, and many other companies have decided that they no longer want their content available on Netflix. A recent study indicated that Netflix’s content library has shrunk 36% from May 2015 to the same time this year.

While the company has devoted serious cash to churning out original content at an astronomic pace, many original subscribers were drawn to Netflix by the eclectic mix of film and network TV shows the service once offered.

Some synopses are just guesses

Antonioguillem/Adobe confused friends watching media content on line

Regular Netflix users have probably noticed that occasionally a show’s synopsis seems completely off. One former employee said that this could be because the workers writing those descriptions haven’t seen the content they are tasked with describing.

According to the employee, they weren’t paid enough or given the time to watch it. Netflix did not respond to the allegations, and the process may have changed by now, but it may just be a better idea to watch the preview Netflix makes play automatically anyway.

It’s pulled content due to political pressure

ianachyrva/Adobe young woman watching tv while eating snack

In 2019, Netflix pulled an episode of a comedy show called “Patriot Act” in Saudi Arabia. The company’s executives said they had received a “valid legal request” from authorities of the nation and decided to get rid of the episode.

The act of willing self-censorship drew ire from some tech and political commentators at the time.

You can reset your recommendations

Vittaya_25/Adobe woman using laptop while lying in bed

Maybe you watched a few movies that you didn’t enjoy, or just left a show running in the living room while you took care of chores around the house. These streaming mishaps may be messing up your algorithm. Fortunately, there are a few ways to fix it.

One option is to sign into your Netflix profile on a computer and delete your streaming history and start anew. Alternatively, you can remove certain content from your viewing history to tweak your recommendations. Click on your Netflix profile and select “viewing activity” to make edits.

4 Unusual Ways Lazy People Are Boosting Their Bank Account

Its DVD warehouses are hidden

Halfpoint/Adobe manager in warehouse using tablet

Many users may not even know it’s still available, but millions of Netflix subscribers still use the company’s original DVD delivery service. However, you’d be hard-pressed to find the warehouses where they actually keep all these DVDs — and apparently, that’s intentional.

The Chicago Tribune reported that Netflix keeps its warehouses off the grid, mostly so people don’t show up at them trying to return DVDs.

You can bypass recommendations

gretalarosa/Adobe young girl on sofa watching tv

If you’re tired of Netflix recommendations, you can take a completely random spin to get some inspiration for what to watch next with Netflix Roulette.

The free service also lets you add other streaming services (so you can add Netflix, Hulu, Disney+, and more) so you get more options when spinning the roulette wheel.

It has company culture issues

motortion/Adobe man disturbed by employees shouting in background

Like many giants of the tech industry, there have been stories about Netflix’s company culture being less than ideal.

A 2018 article from the Wall Street Journal, which was based on interviews with 70 current and former Netflix employees, describes working for the company as “ruthless, demoralizing, and transparent to the point of dysfunction.”

The article also outlined specific practices that are unique to the company that made working for Netflix a mental challenge for many workers.

Its origin story may be false

Sergey Nivens/Adobe Ideas for money making

Netflix CEO and co-founder Reed Hastings has stated that he got the idea for Netflix after receiving a $40 late fee when returning a rental to Blockbuster. He was apparently so upset about it that he was inspired to create a similar service that did away with late fees.

However, the company’s other co-founder, who left Netflix 20 years ago, has questioned that story. He claims that they came up with the idea for Netflix after seeing how much success Amazon had in selling books.

Paying More For Groceries? 8 Ways To Fight Inflation

It's known for pay disparities

Dmitry Lobanov/Adobe rich kid boy millionaire sits with a bundle of money

Netflix has been accused of serious pay disparities several times. A major controversy surrounded the Netflix original series “The Crown” when the public discovered that the show’s star Claire Foy was making less than co-star Matt Smith.

Netflix’s pay disparities were also called into question by comedian Mo’Nique, who called for a boycott of the service over “gender and color bias.” She stated that the company offered white artists, such as Amy Schumer, a lot more money for comedy specials.

Bottom line

Gorodenkoff/Adobe Couple picking a movie off a holographic screen

Whether you’re a current subscriber wondering if you should stick with Netflix, or considering signing up, it’s a good idea to look over the service’s pros and cons to make sure you’re not throwing away money.

Netflix has certainly changed the way people consume television, but fierce competition has sprung up in recent years.

With that being said, many Netflix originals are massively popular (142 million accounts tuned in to “Squid Game” within a month of its release last year). So, if you’re into the content, it may very well be worth the price.

Author Details

Laura Gesualdi-Gilmore

Laura Gesualdi-Gilmore is a seasoned freelance writer who also teaches writing courses at Rutgers University. She's based in Jersey City and enjoys travel, live music and, of course, spending quality time with her pup.