They say sharing is caring, and that’s apparently continues to be true when it comes to login information for streaming services like Netflix, Hulu, HBO Now, and other services. In fact, a new report suggests that more than one-fifth of young adults borrow passwords to watch their favorite shows on the services.
A new poll from Reuters and Ipsos found that 21% of streaming views ages 18 to 24 have, at some point in their life, accessed at least one digital video service by using someone else’s credentials.
Younger viewers aren’t the only ones partaking in a bit of sharing in order to watch shows like “Game Of Thrones” or “Orange Is The New Black.”
According to the poll, 15% of viewers 25 to 34 years of age used shared credentials, while 8% of 35 to 44 year olds, 45 to 54 year olds, and 55 years or older do the same. In all, the poll found that 12% of adults have used shared login information to access over-the-top services.
For the most part, survey respondents told Reuters that they shared or borrowed passwords in order to save money.
Letting It Slide
Over the years, many streaming networks have expressed their acceptance — and sometimes encouraged — password sharing.
Back in 2014, HBO CEO Richard Plepler declared that sharing HBO Go accounts wasn’t really a big deal for the company.
Plepler claimed password sharing could have a positive effect on HBO’s bottom-line, theorizing that students who share their parents’ account are more likely to subscribe to HBO later in life.
That’s a sentiment shared by other networks. At a Goldman Sachs conference last year, Netflix CFO David Wells noted that the company could crack down on password sharing, but that wouldn’t necessarily mean subscriptions would increase.
One viewer who borrowers her siblings’ passwords for both Netflix and Hulu confirmed just as much, noting that if she couldn’t share the credentials, she’d have to choose just one service to use.
Taking A Hit
While it doesn’t appear that streaming networks are going to crack down on sharing just yet, that could change if revenue from subscriptions decrease.
In fact, industry analyst Parks Associates tell Reuters that by continuing to allow password sharing service providers stand to lose an estimated $550 million in 2019.
Stopping the flood of password sharing wouldn’t actually be too difficult for some services. In fact, many have already limited customers’ ability to share.
Services like Hulu and Sling have taken steps to make it more difficult to share passwords by limiting streaming access to a single device at any given time. Additionally, the typical Netflix account allows for simultaneous streaming on two screens; customers can upgrade their account to increase that to four screens. Netflix also lets users create different profiles so that multiple users can have their own queues and recommendations.