Password sharing, not VPN, costing streaming services "billions" every year

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Last year alone streaming companies lost around $9.1bn to password piracy and sharing but new research from Parks Associates predicts that this number will rise to $12.5bn in 2024.

Now though, many streaming services such as Netflix, Hulu, Disney+ and Amazon Prime are willing to let password sharing slide even while they work to crack down on the proliferation of sites that sell passwords illegally.

Another study, conducted by the video delivery and security firm Synamedia, found that two anonymous video providers are losing over $70m each year from password sharing.

A generational gap also exists when it comes to password sharing according to a study from Hub Entertainment Research which found that 31 percent of all consumers have shared their streaming service passwords with someone who doesn't live with them. However, the study also found that 64 percent of people 13-24 years old had given out a password which is much higher than the 16 percent of users over 35 who had shared their streaming passwords with others.

Password sharing

Principal at Hub Entertainment Research, Jon Giegengack explained that the password sharing problem is likely to continue to grow due to a cultural shift among younger generations, saying:

“There is a cultural shift particularly among young people, where sharing things with people you know, or them sharing with you, is an accepted way of doing business, and it is an attitude that is going to impact how they consume lots of things, not just TV and movies.”

One way that streaming services can combat password sharing is to charge more for subscriptions that have multiple streams playing at once. However, another option involves new software showcased at CES 2020 which can help identify users who are sharing passwords or pirating content.

VPN services have come under pressure lately for allowing users to watch content not available in their region but the effect they have on streaming services' revenue pales in comparison to password sharing.

  • Also check out our complete list of the best VPN services

Via Hollywood Reporter

Anthony Spadafora

After working with the TechRadar Pro team for the last several years, Anthony is now the security and networking editor at Tom’s Guide where he covers everything from data breaches and ransomware gangs to the best way to cover your whole home or business with Wi-Fi. When not writing, you can find him tinkering with PCs and game consoles, managing cables and upgrading his smart home.