Cord-cheating takes off as a fifth of streamers use other people's passwords

DetailsMichelle Clancy | 12 March 2015

More than 20% of adult broadband users that stream video from an online subscription service are doing so with other people's passwords.

According to the Diffusion Group (TDG), a sizable segment of online subscription video viewers live in households that are not paying to enjoy on-demand access to movies, TV programmes, and a host of other high-value video content. Content providers are losing substantial revenue by not enforcing more restrictive authentication procedures.

"While it is widely acknowledged that 'cord-cheating' is occurring, few comprehend how widespread the behaviour has become," noted Michael Greeson, TDG founder and director of research.

Importantly, the rate of 'cord-cheating' varies dramatically among OTT SVOD services. For example, 20% of Netflix streamers are guilty of using non-resident credentials, compared with only 10% of Amazon Prime streamers. Even DISH's new Sling TV service is not immune to this behaviour, with an astounding 26% of viewers reporting that they use the credentials of someone living outside their primary residence.

"This behaviour reflects the unfortunate mindset among many of today's media users that it's perfectly acceptable to 'share' digital media — whether files or service access — among friends and family," said Greeson. "Why should my daughter pay to stream Netflix when she can simply use my credentials to access the service with little fear of reprisal?"