Many of us have been guilty of asking our friends or family for the password to their online streaming service, be it Netflix, Spotify, Disney+ or something similar. It can be a thing of convenience or a way to save money. But as it has become such a phenomenon, resulting in millions in lost revenue for companies, they are starting to fight back,
In Australia, for example, some 8 million people are borrowing other people’s login credentials instead of paying for their own accounts. In the UK, at least 27 per cent of Netflix users are estimated to lead their details to others, allowing them to log in and watch content for free. This would equate to around four million people, although the figure could likely be much higher. Across the European Union, this number is believed to be as high as 17 million, with Spain leading the way with 43 per cent.
According to the statistics, many of us are guilty of sharing or using other login details. This means we are also likely being cautious about deleting our searches and viewing history on platforms like Netflix to make sure no one finds out about our secret penchants for true-crime documentaries or children’s shows that remind us of our youth. Being able to do this, as well as change our passwords from something embarrassing such as our celebrity crush, means we can enjoy a bit more privacy when we ultimately lend our passwords to a friend or course. But this simple act of sharing is increasing the motivation of streaming companies to do something about it.
For example, Netflix previously allowed or did nothing about people’s password sharing, but this has changed. One of the company spokespersons told British media that while it was not previously a priority, they would be working hard to combat the issue in the future. For example, in some countries, Netflix charges a small fee for other subscribers, but this may not be well received as many are looking to cut costs at the moment.
In May of this year, Disney+, one of the biggest sharing platforms in the world, said it is also looking at cracking down on the issue. This came after they sent a survey to users asking them about their sharing habits. It could see them implement charges against users for doing it while utilising IP information to see who is accessing the service, and from where.
While both and others in the market have not taken any across-the-board steps, the intention is there. Companies will likely be aware of the fact that such a move will not be popular and that it could impact people’s wallets in a way they did not foresee. Others may adopt other methods to help them bolster revenue while mitigating losses through login sharing.
For now, at least, you should keep deleting that history and setting up ‘guest’ profiles to keep your peculiar tastes to yourself, but just be wary that this could soon be a thing of the past!