The fact that some streaming subscribers share passwords isn’t shocking news, but it is interesting to see on what scale account sharing is happening. A new survey from Liechtman Research Group reveals that one third of Netflix users share their account with others outside their household.
The survey, which was conducted among 4,400 U.S. households, shows that 33% of Netflix services are used in more than one household, ie password sharing. Of those, the percentage is split evenly with 15% saying they’re the ones paying for the service, and 15% admitting to being the borrower. Only 3% of password sharers split the subscription cost.
Other study findings show that 67% of all households have Netflix, and 83% of U.S. households have at least one streaming video service from one of the top 15 platforms. Plus, password sharing isn’t just a Netflix problem – 29% of all direct-to-consumer services are shared with others outside the household. That number is greatest among younger users, with 34% of adults ages 18-34 saying they use a service paid for by someone else compared to just 14% of viewers ages 35+.
“Password sharing is an inherent feature of most streaming services. Sharing helps to expand the user base and retain customers, but it also creates a gap between the number of households that have a service and actual paying subscribers,” said Bruce Leichtman, president and principal analyst for Leichtman Research Group, Inc. “For example, about two-thirds of U.S. households report having Netflix, but this includes about 10% of U.S. households that don’t pay for the service because it is borrowed from someone else’s subscription.”
Netflix is obviously aware of the password-sharing problem plaguing its subscriber count. The service has even gone so far as to launch a test to see what would happen if it started charging moochers who use the platform without paying. Two new “features” being tested in Chile, Costa Rica, and Peru will attempt to identify those accounts that are sharing passwords and charge users a fee to keep “extra members” on the account.