Advanced Television

Study: 13-24s’ TV password-sharing tendency

January 9, 2020

By Colin Mann

Findings from Hub Entertainment Research’s Video Redefined study track the most popular video genres and formats among consumers today—including non-traditional forms of video entertainment. The study also measures the methods consumers use—including illegitimate methods—to access that content.

Highlights from the study:

1) While nearly one-third of all consumers have given out an online TV service password to a friend or extended family member, the proportion is twice as high among 13-24 year olds.

  • 31 per cent of all consumers say they’ve given one of their online TV service passwords to someone who doesn’t live with them
  • However, among 13-24 year olds, 64 per cent have given out an online service password, compared to just 16 per cent among consumers 35 or older
  • Netflix tops the list of services whose passwords are shared (56 per cent of all 13-24 year olds have given their Netflix password to someone else). Newcomer Disney+ didn’t take long to join the shared-password leaderboard: 31 per cent of all young consumers have given out their Disney+ login info. Rounding out the list: Hulu (30 per cent), Apple TV+ (17 per cent), and Amazon (14 per cent).

2) Compared to giving out passwords, viewers are even more likely to use someone else’s online TV password to access services they don’t personally subscribe to, including more than three-quarters of young viewers.

  • 42 per cent of all consumers have used someone else’s online TV service password to access a service, but the proportion increases to 78 per cent among 13-24 year olds.
  • Netflix (69 per cent of 13-24 year olds have used someone else’s Netflix password), Hulu (59 per cent), Amazon (53 per cent), and Disney+ (also 53 per cent) are the most commonly used among young consumers.

3) All in all, adding in both giving and receiving, the vast majority of young consumers (81 per cent) engage in online service password sharing to some degree.

  • Although the percent is much smaller among 35-74 year olds, password sharing is still at a not-inconsequential 29 per cent, nearly one in three.

4) Use of someone’s online TV password is far from a one-off occurrence among young viewers. Those on the receiving end of someone else’s password use it early and often.

  • For example, among 13-24 year olds who ever use someone else’s Neflix, Hulu, Disney+, or Amazon credentials, the percent using that password at least every week is:
    • 77 per cent for Netflix
    • 73 per cent for Hulu
    • 73 per cent for Disney+
    • 68 per cent for Amazon

“Online streaming platforms must love it when one of their original shows generates massive buzz. After all, what better way to attract new subscribers than by offering hugely popular shows you can’t watch anywhere else,” said Peter Fondulas, principal at Hub and co-author of the study. “But when popularity and exclusivity are combined with often ambiguous, even sometimes non-existent, rules about legitimate use, it’s almost an invitation to subscribers to share the enjoyment with friends and family. Wall Street has already made its displeasure clear, but in spite of that, password sharing is still very much alive and well.”

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