Many of us are guilty of asking our friends and family for passwords to Netflix, Spotify, Disney+, or similar online streaming services. It could be convenience or it could be a way to save money. But when it became a phenomenon costing businesses millions of dollars in lost revenue, they started fighting back.
In Australia, for example, around 8 million people are borrowing someone else’s login credentials instead of paying for their own account. In the UK, it is estimated that at least 27% of Netflix users pass their details on to others so they can log in and watch content for free. This number could be much higher, but it equates to about 4 million people. Across the European Union, this number is estimated to reach 17 million, with Spain leading at 43%.
Statistics show that many of us are guilty of sharing or using other login information. This means that we are likely to be cautious about clearing our search and viewing history on platforms like Netflix so that no one knows about our secret penchant for true crime documentaries or children’s shows that remind us of our youth. Being able to do this, and being able to change passwords from embarrassing things like celebrity crushes, ultimately means that you’ll enjoy a bit more privacy when lending passwords to friends or courses. But this simple act of sharing is increasing the incentive for streaming companies to do something about it.
For example, Netflix previously didn’t allow people to share their passwords or did anything about it, but that has changed. One of the company’s spokespersons told the British press that while it wasn’t a priority before, he would be working hard to address this in the future. For example, in some countries Netflix charges a small fee to other subscribers, but this may not be well-received as many people are now looking to cut costs.
In May of this year, Disney+, one of the world’s largest sharing platforms, also said it was considering cracking down on the issue. This came after users were sent a survey asking about their sharing habits. You can see charging users while leveraging IP information to see who is accessing services from where.
Neither company in the market has taken overall action, but they have intentions. The company would be aware that such a move would not be popular and could affect people’s wallets in unexpected ways. Others may adopt another method that helps increase profits while mitigating losses through login sharing.
At least for now, you should keep deleting that history and setting up a ‘Guest’ profile to keep your own unique taste, but be warned, this may soon be a thing of the past!