26 APR 2022

Are streaming subscribers willing to pay extra to share their passwords?

In its latest survey, Morning Consult discovered that 1 in 3 US streaming subscribers would pay extra to legally share a streaming service password.

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After recording its first subscriber loss in more than a decade, Netflix is looking to reverse the situation and one of its ways to achieve it is cracking down on password sharing. During its recent earnings call, Netflix said that about 100 million households worldwide and 30 million in North America access its content using someone else’s login information.

Last month, the streamer announced it would experiment with charging subscribers an additional fee to legally share their accounts with users outside their homes, beginning in Latin America. New data from Morning Consult suggests that, while this move definitely will not win over all consumers, it could help the company generate some additional revenue and add to its subscriber total.

In its latest survey, Morning Consult asked US consumers if they would be willing to pay a higher subscription fee to legally share the password with others if sharing a streaming service password was no longer allowed, and discovered that 1 in 3 streaming subscribers would pay extra to share their password.

More than half (56%) of US adults who said they either share their password with others or use a shared password indicated that they would not pay a higher subscription fee to legally share their account password if they could no longer do so for free. However, one-third of streaming subscribers said they would “definitely” or “probably” pay the fee to continue to share their password. Furthermore, roughly half (52%) of current password sharers said they would consider signing up for their own subscription if they could no longer share an account or password with another person.

●  NETFLIX PASSWORD SHARING, BY GENERATION

Roughly 1 in 10 (11%) adults, which translates to about 28 million people, said they do not subscribe to Netflix but use the password of someone they do not live with — which is technically a crime. In a letter to shareholders this week, Netflix gave a similar estimate, saying about 30 million households in the United States and Canada use Netflix without paying for it.

At 16%, baby boomers were the generation most likely to say they use the password of someone outside of their household. Seven percent of Gen Zers, along with 9% of Gen Xers and millennials, said the same.

Gen Zers were most likely to say they give away their passwords to someone they do not live with, at 7%. The data suggests that many instances of password sharing are likely younger Netflix users allowing older ones — perhaps parents or grandparents — to use their accounts.

●  WHAT’S NEXT

Password sharing is not unique to Netflix — services like HBO Max, Disney+ and Apple TV+ actually had slightly higher rates of sharing, according to the survey. But after reporting it lost 200.000 subscribers in the first quarter, the streaming service clearly feels pressured to take action now in a way those services do not yet need to.

“Netflix, unlike other services, is no longer growing in the United States and finding it harder and harder to attract paying customers. So the next step is to turn moochers into subscribers — or to make more money off the sharers,”  the report said.

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