Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries has admitted she shares her Netflix password with four other households in the UK – against the streaming giant’s terms and conditions.
Appearing in front of the Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee on Thursday, Ms Dorries said four other people including her mother have access to her account.
Netflix terms and conditions state users must live together to share access to a paid-for account.
“My mum has access to my account, the kids do. I have Netflix but there are four other people who can use my Netflix account in different parts of the country,” Ms Dorries said.
Describing the current subscriber system as “extremely generous”, she added: “Am I not supposed to do that?”
DCMS permanent secretary Sarah Healey added: “So many people watch it in my house I had to pay for the more expensive one.”
Last month, Netflix suffered its first subscriber loss in more than a decade, causing its shares to plunge 25% in extended trading.
But Ms Dorries said: “I think for people to even try and paint a picture that Netflix is unsuccessful or struggling is probably slightly over-egging the pudding. Netflix has done what many businesses do.
“It has reached the point of market saturation, which is a good thing for Netflix but they are going to have to revise their business model, and they will probably revise it in a way that will make it much more difficult for public service broadcasters who rely on advertising revenue.”
Last month, the government reiterated its intention to privatise Channel 4 and outlined plans for streaming services to face tighter regulation.
Announcing plans to bring streaming services such as Netflix and Amazon Prime under the control of Ofcom, the communications regulator, for the first time, Ms Dorries said the change will “protect audiences” from “harmful material”.
Ofcom would get the power to write a new video-on-demand code to level the rules with traditional broadcasters and impose fines of up to £250,000 or 5% of revenue for breaches.
The watchdog would also have a “strengthened duty” to assess age ratings of material.
The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport has said privatising Channel 4, which is publicly owned, will remove restrictions that “effectively prohibit” it from selling its own content.