Digital / Streaming 8 NOV 2019

INDUSTRY GIANTS JOIN FORCES AGAINST PASSWORD SHARING

A coalition that includes Netflix, HBO and cable-industry giants is stepping up efforts to crack down on password sharing, discussing new measures to close a loophole that could be costing companies billions of dollars each year.

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A coalition that includes Netflix, HBO and cable-industry giants is stepping up efforts to crack down on password sharing, discussing new measures to close a loophole that could be costing companies billions of dollars in lost revenue each year, according to Bloomberg.

Programmers and cable-TV distributors are considering an array of tactics to cut off people who borrow credentials from friends and relatives to access programming without paying for it. The possible measures include requiring customers to change their passwords periodically or texting codes to subscribers’ phones that they would need to enter to keep watching, say people familiar with the matter.

Some TV executives want to create rules governing which devices can be used to access a cable-TV subscription outside the home. While someone logging in from a phone or tablet would be fine, someone using a Roku device at a second location could be considered a likely freeloader. If none of those tactics work, pay TV subscribers could someday be required to sign into their accounts using their thumbprints.

However, taking more aggressive measures poses risks. The people using services for free — especially younger consumers — may never agree to sign up for a subscription, no matter how many hassles they endure. That means companies would mostly just be alienating paying customers, who could get frustrated and stop using an app or cancel their service.

The pay TV industry is projected to lose $6.6 billion in revenue from password sharing and piracy this year, according to Parks Associates. By 2024, the number could grow to $9 billion, the research firm said.

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