Parks: OTT account-sharing tops 11%

DetailsMichelle Clancy | 16 May 2015

A full 11% of US households are using other people’s accounts (i.e. are unpaid consumers) for digital video.

Digital media consumer research from Parks Associates reports that while 57% of US broadband households access an over-the-top (OTT) video subscription, account sharing is a lingering challenge. The research shows that 11% of Netflix subscribers, 10% of Hulu Plus subscribers and 5% of Amazon Prime Instant Video subscribers are using an account paid for by someone else. Account sharing is highest among younger households, where 22% of those 18-24 who use an OTT service use a subscription paid by someone outside of their household. This OTT account-sharing research includes OTT services that are independent of pay-TV services.

"OTT video accounts for a disproportionate amount of content consumed when compared to expenditure — over one-third of video consumed per week is OTT, but it is only 9% of the household video budget," said Brett Sappington, director of research, Parks Associates. "Account sharing is part of the larger problem in monetising the strong consumer demand for OTT content.”

Overall, 8% of US broadband households are using a subscription OTT video account held by someone outside of their home, and 6% are exclusively using shared accounts to access subscription OTT video content.

"In terms of hours of consumption per dollar spent, consumers have every reason to shift spending to online video,” Sappington said. “While the all-you-can-eat subscription model is very popular, several OTT services are experimenting with models that blend advertising, subscription, and transactional options. Pay-TV providers will have to quickly move up the OTT learning curve, which is very different from the traditional pay-TV environment."