Over-the-top video use in homes is proliferating. So is the number of shared accounts between paying and non-paying users.
New data from Ampere Analysis found that one in seven online video households worldwide are borrowing an account. An OTT borrower is anyone using a login for a subscription online video platform from someone outside of their household to access a service.
Borrowed services might include mainstream TV and film products such as Netflix, Hulu or Amazon Prime Video, but also include sports streaming services and niche content services. A silver lining for the OTT distributors is that most using another household’s login say they would pay extra for a service that gives them the content they want.
In the past 12 months, the proportion of global Internet users who are borrowing an account has increased, rising from 8% in Q1 2019 to 11% in Q1 2020. London-based Ampere estimates that there are 70 million households borrowing one or more OTT accounts across 22 markets worldwide. The trend is highest in India, followed by the Netherlands and France, and lowest in Japan.
Account borrowing is growing fastest in the U.K., China and Indonesia — with borrowers more likely than average to be younger and students. However, over 50% have full-time jobs and household incomes on-par with the average consumer. This means that a large proportion of the group does have purchasing power, according to Ampere.
Sports programming is particularly attractive to a subset of account borrowers. In Europe, a greater proportion of users of sports services such as NBA League Pass and NFL Game Pass are account borrowers. This is partly due to the seasonality of sport. Account borrowing by these users is likely to only be for a specific period, or by casual fans who don’t feel they watch enough to merit paying for a subscription.
“We can see that households swap login details with friends and families to access other platforms, and we predict that as the subscription OTT landscape continues to fragment and consumers are faced with an increasing number of platforms to choose from, this borrowing behavior will become more prevalent,” Minal Modha, consumer research lead, said in a statement.