A Quarter of Americans Stream Video from a Different Household’s Account

There is always a lot of fuss about piracy on the internet, but how should copyright holders respond when customers of paid-for video streaming services share their account details with others? That question deserves an answer, especially in light of a new survey commissioned by Cartesian, which found 27 percent of Americans have access to a different household’s video streaming service. The flip side of this equation found that 28 percent of paying customers had chosen to share their credentials with somebody outside of their household, irrespective of terms and conditions that prohibit them from doing so.

It seems many Americans see nothing wrong with sharing access to paid-for video streaming accounts like Netflix or Amazon Prime Video. Those that pay for multi-screen deals are often happy to see them exploited to the full. This is easy to understand when 68 percent of those who rely on borrowed accounts are obtaining access to the service purchased by a close friend or by a family member who lives somewhere else. Less than 1 percent of paying customers said their account details had been given to somebody they did not know personally.

Cartesian is keen to provide advice about maximizing revenues from video streaming services, but readers of their report will find it extremely thin. There is no information beyond these few headline statistics, which will hardly come as a surprise to anybody who has a few friends that regularly watch Netflix. We all know that businesses turn a blind eye to violation of contract terms when their focus is on growing their customer base. It would be useful to hear some suggestions for how to curb abuse without impacting growth, but Cartesian have little to say about that.

To obtain the Cartesian survey report you are asked to provide your email address and then give them permission to spam you, though it looks like Cartesian do not check the validity of the email so you could submit a fake one and spare yourself the chore of later deleting their marketing guff. However, the report is so limited that it is hardly worth wasting the bandwidth to download it or the time to turn through several pages that keep telling you things you already knew. Risk and assurance practitioners will find their time is better spent sitting in a quiet room and contemplating what they might do to actually address this issue.

Eric Priezkalns
Eric Priezkalns
Eric is the Editor of Commsrisk. Look here for more about the history of Commsrisk and the role played by Eric.

Eric is also the Chief Executive of the Risk & Assurance Group (RAG), a global association of professionals working in risk management and business assurance for communications providers.

Previously Eric was Director of Risk Management for Qatar Telecom and he has worked with Cable & Wireless, T‑Mobile, Sky, Worldcom and other telcos. He was lead author of Revenue Assurance: Expert Opinions for Communications Providers, published by CRC Press. He is a qualified chartered accountant, with degrees in information systems, and in mathematics and philosophy.