Here at Exstreamist, we ran a survey to gather data about the password sharing habits of your everyday SVOD (streaming video-on-demand) users. With almost 400 responses, we broke down some interesting trends covering who is sharing their account logins the most and which accounts people most commonly borrow themselves.
We attempted to only survey people likely to be either streaming service subscribers themselves or have access to other subscribers’ accounts. We did not want to gather a bunch of results from people not currently using an SVOD (Streaming Video on Demand) on a regular basis so we targeted our survey outreach accordingly.
Second, there is an obvious bias toward services that have been around longer. As expected, Netflix subscribers had a higher number of responses than newer services such as Sling TV. We also did not differentiate between HBO Now and HBO Go because of the recency of the two separate services becoming available. This would be interesting to test in the future.
Third, we are fully aware of the possibility that people would not be truthful on a survey like this. It is safe to assume a number of respondents likely lied and said that they do not share any of their passwords. But with enough responses, the margin here is relatively normalized.We are confident most people felt we weren’t outing them to any of the companies listed below. Most of them are fully aware of the password sharing habits of their subscribers.
Most password sharers subscribe to at least one other service themselves
As you’ll see below, a lot of respondents commented that they use their subscriptions as a bargaining chip of sorts, e.g., “I’ll let you use my Hulu Plus account if I can have your Netflix account.” It is actually quite rare that someone solely uses other people’s accounts as only 15% of respondents said they currently don’t pay for any services themselves.
Younger subscribers more frequently share their passwords while older subscribers are less likely to share their password
49% of those people aged 18-29 share at least one streaming service login with someone outside of their household. Compare that to only 38% of respondents aged 30-39 and only 23% of respondents 50+. There was almost zero difference between how frequently men or women share their accounts/use other people’s accounts, as gender-specific responses were almost equal across the board.
The most common reasons given for why people shared their accounts with others:
- I share it with family members so they can watch the same movies/shows as me.
- I share it with friends who can’t afford the services.
- I swap accounts with friends (e.g., I share my HBO login with someone who is sharing their Netflix login with me).
- I share it with people I know who do not have budget to pay for streaming services.
- I share it with a boyfriend/girlfriend.
Some specific responses we enjoyed:
The final question in our survey called for open commentary on their password sharing situation.
“My friend is too cheap to buy Netflix but I want her to watch Netflix original series so we can talk about them.”
“Because we’re in love!
“I do not share. It only degrades budgets for the shows I enjoy. [Password sharers] are the same folks that don’t support NPR.”
“I shared it with my boyfriend’s mother who can barely figure out how to change the channel let alone sign up for a subscription online. We set up her TV using our logins.”
“I share Hulu with my daughter and she gives me her HBO login.”
“Maybe it’s dumb but I give my Netflix login out to a lot of people, and I think they share it with others as well. I should probably change my password.”
“I share Netflix with a few friends, they’re just being cheap.”
“My parents are afraid of the internet. They fear fraud, stolen financials, etc. so I give them my Netflix account.”
Of all the streaming services, an HBO Login is most likely to be shared
The majority of respondents to this survey replied that they had access to Netflix, whether that be their own subscription or access to one. But the highest percentage of people replied they were using someone else’s HBO login. Making a few assumptions, this seems likely due to the previously high barrier to entry with HBO originally requiring a cable subscription. This will be an interesting trend to watch with HBO Now currently available in the US to non-cable subscribers.
Older age directly correlates with having a stronger belief that these services are going to start cracking down on password sharing:
Most folks in younger demographics felt far less concerned about streaming services cracking down on password sharing. Older folks were pretty convinced it will happen in the near future.
Get the full streaming survey data below:
- What subscription streaming services do you or someone in your household (family, roommate) pay for?
- What (if any) services do you share your login to with people outside your household?
- How many people not in your household have you shared your account subscriptions with?
- What subscription streaming services do you use someone else’s login for?
- How likely do you think it is that these services will crack down on password sharing within the next 12 months?
- Roughly, how many hours a week do you stream movies or TV shows using one of the mentioned services?
- (Optional) What makes you decide to share your account with someone?
How many respondents subscribe to each streaming service:
What services do respondents share the most:
How many people have you shared your passwords with (excluding “none” responses):
What subscription services do you use someone else’s login for (excluding “none” responses):
How likely is it that these services will start cracking down on password sharing:
How many hours a week do you stream TV or movies:
If you would like specific access to any of the data labeled above, please email the author to request more information.
photo credit: On the Internet… (license)