Survey: 33% Had to Create New Account After Streaming Password Crackdown

Multiple streaming services, such as Netflix and Disney+, have enforced password sharing over the last year — and it’s working. A Forbes Advisor survey found that 33% of Americans report having to create their own streaming account after password crackdowns. 

However, the report found that 56% still access streaming services through friends and family accounts and 90% claim they will discontinue streaming services if higher prices or stricter password sharing are enforced in 2024. 

Other findings:

  • Streaming content is a part-time job — Americans spend an average of 20 hours streaming content every week.
  • People are spending an average of $552 on streaming services a year or $46 a month. 
  • 44% report having their streaming subscriptions costs increase over the last year.
  • People are most likely to cancel Disney+ (44%) if its prices increased or they enforced stricter password sharing rules — 33% would cancel Netflix if prices increased or account sharing was enforced.
  • The number of people paying for streaming services has increased over the last year — 96% pay for at least one streaming subscription in 2024 while only 86% paid for streaming services in 2023. 

 

The online survey of 2,000 Americans who stream media at least one hour or more per day was commissioned by Forbes Home and conducted by market research company OnePoll. 

CFO: No Plans to Crackdown on Paramount+ Account Password Sharing

Although market leaders Netflix and Disney+ are actively seeking to curb the practice of sharing account passwords between subscribers and non-subscribers, Paramount+ has no plans to curb the practice, according to Paramount Global CFO Naveen Chopra.

Speaking on the Nov. 2 third-quarter (ended Sept. 30) fiscal call, Chopra said  password sharing has not materially impacted ongoing subscriber growth at Paramount+, which added 2.7 million net subs to end the quarter with 63 million paid members worldwide.

“Right now we don’t see that as a headwind to our growth efforts,” Chopra said, adding that the company would continue to monitor the practice among subscribers going forward.

“The good news is that there is a template how we could address [password sharing] in a value-accretive way,” he said. “But now we have really powerful growth drivers,” he said, alluding to the increased distribution of Paramount movies, original episodic content and live sports on the platform.

That mindset could change in the near future.

In a four-day online survey conducted Oct. 26-29, 2023, JustWatch.com found that 17% of Paramount+ subscribers shared their password with non-subs. That is down just 3% from password-sharing market leader Disney+, and 2% below Showtime, which was recently integrated with Paramount+ as “Paramount+ with Showtime.”

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Disney+ Most-Shared SVOD as Password Crackdown Begins in Canada

Disney Nov. 1 began informing Canadian Disney+ subscribers that they would no longer be allowed to share account passwords with non-subscribers unless permitted through their subscription tier. Continued illegal account sharing could lead to termination of service.

The move, which follows Netflix crackdown on password sharing in the U.S. and other markets earlier this year, is the first in a planned series of emails to subscribers in different markets informing them of the new policy.

“Later this year, we will begin to update our subscriber agreements with additional terms on our sharing policies, and we will roll out tactics to drive monetization sometime in 2024,” Disney CEO Bob Iger said on the company’s most-recent fiscal call in August.

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Disney should be concerned. New data from JustWatch.com finds that Disney+ is the most-shared platform, with almost twice the percentage of password sharing than among Prime Video subscribers through Oct. 29. Notably, former No. 1 Netflix has seen password sharing plummet to 13% after it began cracking down on the practice on May 23, offering non-subscribers the ability to continuing sharing accounts for an additional $7.99 monthly fee.

While Disney has not publicly offered a solution to password freeloaders, Oct. 12 the media giant initiated price hikes among its direct-to-consumer services, including Disney+, Hulu and ESPN+.

Analyst: Netflix Added More Q3 Subs From Password-Sharing Crackdown

Netflix’s crackdown on password sharing continues to drive subscriber growth, according to new data from Wedbush Securities media analyst Michael Pachter.

Netflix in May began alerting U.S. subscribers who shared their password with non-paying third parties, that the freeloading was being stopped, unless they agreed to pay an additional $7.99 monthly fee for each user.

Citing a commissioned streaming-focused survey of 1,000 respondents, Pachter reported at least 10% of respondents impacted opted to pay more for the extra-member feature post-crackdown, resulting in higher average revenue per user, or ARPU. Another 10% of former account-sharers kicked off extra members, many of whom have signed up or will sign up for their own accounts in the coming quarters, according to the survey.

Separately, Pachter said that the proportion of subscribers on the lower-priced $7.99 ad-supported tier remained consistent in the third quarter, but should increase in Q4 (ending Dec. 31) and beyond. In addition, the analyst said ARPU should be positively impacted by the password-sharing crackdown as families and close friends opt in to pay the add-on subscription fee.

Wedbush estimates Netflix Q3 revenue north of $8.52 billion, which is slightly below the industry consensus of $8.532 billion, and in line with Netflix guidance of $8.52 billion. Revenue projections are based in part on net paid subscriber growth of 5.5 million subs (including 1.25 million new North American subs), compared with guidance of around 5.892 million subs, and industry consensus of around 6 million net subs.

“We think Netflix is well-positioned in this murky environment as streamers are shifting strategy, and should be valued as an immensely profitable, slow-growth company,” Pachter wrote in a note.

Netflix reports third-quarter fiscal results on Oct. 18 after the market close.

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Disney+ Begins Cracking Down on Password Sharing — in Canada

Disney+ has begun sending out emails to Canadian subscribers informing them of new guidelines aimed at shutting down the practice of sharing user passwords with non-subscribers, effective Nov. 1.

Disney told North-of-the-border subscribers that going forward they would no longer be able to share a password outside their household as part of a new subscriber agreement in Canada. An updated subscriber agreement in the U.S. is expected later this year.

“Unless otherwise permitted by your service tier, you may not share your subscription outside of your household,” read the email first reported by Engadget

The move follows Netflix’s decision to block share passwords it claimed involved about 100 million subs worldwide. Now, subs have to pay a $7.99 monthly premium to include non-members to their account. The same price as the ad-supported Disney+ option.

Disney+ has not disclosed how much it will charge subs to include third-party non-members.

Survey: U.S. Consumers Critical of Streaming Services’ Cost and Password Sharing Crackdowns

U.S. consumers are showing some dissatisfaction with the state of video subscription streaming, according to a new survey.

A big majority (69%) of U.S. consumers know how much they spend monthly on streaming services and almost half (46%) don’t believe streaming services offer enough to justify the subscription costs, according to the survey of more than 1,000 American consumers who subscribe to popular streaming services. The survey by gambling magazine DailyStoke also found Americans spend an average of $46 a month on service subscriptions.

Those surveyed were not happy with crackdowns on password sharing either, with half saying they would cancel their subscription if services crack down on the practice. Only 20% said services should crack down on password sharing, and 64% said they are frustrated with streaming service providers and their efforts to limit password sharing. A big majority (79%) said they think it’s okay to share passwords with family members who no longer live together. The survey found password sharers save an average of $15 per month via the practice.

Meanwhile, two-thirds (66%) of respondents said they had canceled a service and rejoined later. Nearly three quarters of respondents (74%) said they had signed up for a free trial just to watch something specific. One in 10 of those who said they had signed up for the free trial said they had forgotten to cancel the service.

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On the bright side for streaming services, 94% of respondents said they like the content offered through streaming services, 62% said they consider being a subscriber to streaming services necessary in today’s society, and one in four said they could not live without subscribing to a streaming service.

Interpret: 28% of All Streaming Video Subs Share Passwords

As Netflix begins to crack down on password sharing, Interpret VideoWatch data shows about 28% of all streaming video subscribers (and 27% of Netflix subscribers) either use the password of someone outside the household or split the costs and share a password with another household for at least one streaming service.

Other services, such as Hulu and Disney+, have a larger share of subscribers using shared passwords than Netflix. 

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Report: Netflix Posts Big Gain in Sign-Ups Post Password-Sharing Crackdown

Since alerting subscribers in the United States that it would begin to curb password sharing on May 23, Netflix has had the four single largest days of U.S. user acquisition in the four-and-a-half years that Antenna has been measuring the streaming service, according to the research firm.

Netflix saw nearly 100,000 daily sign-ups on both May 26 and May 27, according to the Antenna report.

Average daily sign-ups to Netflix reached 73,000 during that period, a 102% increase from the prior 60-day average. The jumps exceed the spikes in sign-ups Antenna observed during the initial U.S. Covid-19 lockdowns in March and April 2020, the research firm reported.

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Cancels also increased during this period, but not as much as sign-ups, according to Antenna. The ratio of sign-ups to cancels since May 23 is up 25.6% compared to the previous 60-day period. 

These insights are the result of Antenna’s new Acquisition Drivers product which provides clients with more frequent and rapid delivery of daily sign-ups for subscription services.

JP Morgan: Netflix to Monetize 14 Million Shared Accounts in 2023

Netflix will monetize 14 million non-paying account users in 2023, a tally that should increase to 26 million by the end of 2024 and 33 million by the end of 2025, according to analysis from JP Morgan analyst Doug Anmuth.

Since launching the option this year that allows subscribers to share their Netflix accounts with non-paying members, the SVOD pioneer is attempting to curb a practice that impacts about 100 million of its global subscriber base.

Netflix subs can now add non-members for an additional $7.99 monthly fee, a move some observers believed would increase subscriber churn, or increase members who don’t renew their monthly subscription plan.

Instead, Netflix is eyeing tens of millions of dollars in new revenue, according to Anmuth.

Anmuth believes the new monetization will include a 50-50 split between new subscribers paying the additional fee and non-subs paying for access to a subscriber’s password. The latter user group does not count as an actual paid Netflix subscriber.

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“We believe that is playing out as Netflix has improved communications with account holders and password borrowers (as well as non-sharing members) and eased concerns related to access while traveling,” Anmuth wrote in a note.

The analyst was also upbeat on Netflix’s foray into an ad-supported subscription tier, which the streamer said had generated around 5 million active global users in the first quarter ended March 31.

Anmuth believes about 54% of new subscribers will opt for the $6.99 ad-supported tier this year and in 2024.

Samba TV: Nearly 50% of Netflix, Disney+ Subscribers Share Account Passwords

Netflix has begun cracking down on North American subscribers sharing their account passwords with non-members. New data from Samba TV found that the practice has increased slightly, affecting about 51% of all SVOD subscriptions — based on a commissioned HarrisX survey of 2,500 U.S. respondents from March 23-27.

Samba said 49% and 48% of Netflix  and Disney+ subs, respectively, share their subscription with someone else, with most sharing their account with family members.

Of those subscribed to at least one platform, 60% share their password with someone else. This includes 79% of Gen Z and 74% of Millennials, compared to 52% of Gen X and 38% of Baby Boomers.

About 57% share with one-to-two people. Millennials are more likely to share with more people. The demo is also most likely to share with at least three people (34%, compared to 25% of all people who share subscriptions).

About 70% of respondents who share and borrow access to streaming services say that Netflix is a platform they are most likely to share with others.

With Netflix imposing a $7.99 monthly fee on subscribers sharing their account, more than 40% of survey respondents said they would be willing to pay more to share their account with someone outside of their home.

Of those who would be willing to pay to share their account, 41% would pay up to $10 per month and an additional 10% would pay up to $15, accounting for just about half of those who would be willing to pay extra. Males and Millennials are most likely to be willing to pay more.

On the flipside, password crackdown may spur cancellations of the service, particularly among younger demographics like Gen Z, according to Samba.

About 37% of current Netflix subscribers would cancel their account if they could no longer share their password with people outside their home. The percentage goes up as the user age goes down. About 52% of Gen Z and 51% of Millennials would cancel their account, but only around a quarter of Gen X and Baby Boomers would do so.

Additionally, of those who currently use someone else’s Netflix account, 64% would subscribe to Netflix if they could no longer use someone else’s password (39% to an ad-supported tier and 25% to an ad-free tier). 76% of Millennials and 75% of males would subscribe, compared to only 55% of females.

“The crackdown on password sharing has the potential to hasten the growth of Netflix’s ad-supported tier as sharers are gently forced to migrate to their own accounts,” Samba TV CEO Ashwin Navin said in a statement.

The reports found that among non-subs using someone else’s Netflix account, almost 40% would transition toward the cheaper monthly subscription with ads, while only a quarter may sign up for their own ad-free experience.

“There’s also an opportunity for Netflix to charge for these additional users. Implementing this new fee could quickly grow Netflix’s subscriber revenue,” Navin said.

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