Online TV Password Sharers Like to Both Give and Receive

4 in 10 younger consumers both use the passwords of others and give out their own

Hub Entertainment Research’s syndicated reports have been tracking the rapid growth in subscription to online TV services—including impressive increases for SVOD services like Netflix, Hulu, and Amazon. And we’ve seen that a big part of this growth is driven by the appeal of original and exclusive shows on these platforms.

But the popularity of these services and shows has the potential to make password sharing a tempting proposition for TV viewers. And our recent TV Redefined study shows that many consumers are taking advantage.

The study looked at password sharing among TV consumers with broadband, across a range of online TV services, including SVODs, direct to consumer online services (including HBO Now, CBS All Access), TV Everywhere applications (requiring an MVPD subscription), and virtual MVPDs (such as Sling TV, DIRECTV Now).

Highlights from the findings:

  • Password sharing is widespread: One-third of all viewers 16-74 (35%) have used the login credentials of someone outside their home to access TV shows online.
  • Giving is as common as receiving: 33% have given out their own passwords to someone outside their household.
  • It’s not just limited to family: 10% have given their password to a friend, and 13% have used the password of a friend.
  • Sharing is much more common among younger consumers: 56% of those aged 18-34 have watched using someone else’s account, and 47% have given their password to someone else.

In fact, the data suggest that the TV landscape includes a sizable “sharing economy,” with younger viewers the most active participants:

  • Among all consumers, 43% do at least some account sharing (using others’ password or giving out their own), including one-quarter (25%) who do both: use other people’s accounts AND give out their own.
  • Among 18-24 year olds, a full two-thirds (67%) do at least some sharing, including 40% who both give AND receive.

The study also looked at the specific services consumers are most likely to share:

  • Leading the list is Netflix: 63% of those who have used someone else’s credentials used them to watch Netflix; among 18-34 year olds who share, it’s 72%.
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