What’s the password? Netflix login sharing may not be as common as you think

21 Aug 2018

Netflix logo in front of the California headquarters. Image: Sundry Photography/Shutterstock

It’s a commonly held belief that everyone is sharing Netflix passwords, but this might not actually be true.

Streaming services are the primary way many people consume media. Watching series, films and original content on platforms such has Netflix has become a cornerstone of how many of us spend our free time.

Anecdotally, tales of password sharing are common, with many people sharing profiles in order to avoid paying monthly memberships. According to a new report from Ampere Analysis, though, password sharing might not be as prolific as we believe.

Is Netflix password sharing that common?

The study found that password sharing occurs in fewer than one in 10 homes around the world. This amounts to approximately 9pc of revenue that can be considered a marketing and subscriber acquisition cost. On the other hand, it could be viewed as a potential revenue gain.

While account sharing is higher among the platform’s users than other on-demand video streaming sites, the amount of password sharing varies by markets.

France had the highest percentage of shared access, but the lowest level of service popularity. Ampere said this may mean there is a correlation between established Netflix markets experiencing less credential sharing. The lowest amount of sharing was in the US, Netflix’s largest market.

Data tells another tale

Research director at Ampere Analysis, Guy Bisson, said: “There is a widely held belief that password sharing among Netflix homes is rife, but our data is telling a different story.

“One of the most striking things about account sharing on Netflix is that it’s amazingly consistent across markets.” He added that Netflix still has “a potential revenue gain that can be switched on at will by locking down account sharing, but it’s more likely to be seen as an additional – and likely very effective – marketing and subscriber acquisition cost”.

Separate research from Magid published by CNBC shows that 35pc of those aged 22 to 36 are likely to share their paid services passwords, making them the second-largest demographic to do so. For the generation behind them (21 and younger), this figure rises to 45pc.

Netflix logo in front of the California headquarters. Image: Sundry Photography/Shutterstock

Ellen Tannam was a journalist with Silicon Republic, covering all manner of business and tech subjects