Business Netflix, HBO and Cable Giants Are Coming for Password Cheats - Password resets and thumbprints are among the tactics being considered


Vivere Militare Est.

A coalition that includes Netflix Inc., HBO and cable-industry titans is stepping up efforts to crack down on password sharing, discussing new measures to close a loophole that could be costing companies billions of dollars in lost revenue each year.

Programmers and cable-TV distributors are considering an array of tactics to cut off people who borrow credentials from friends and relatives to access programming without paying for it. The possible measures include requiring customers to change their passwords periodically or texting codes to subscribers’ phones that they would need to enter to keep watching, according to people familiar with the matter.

Some TV executives want to create rules governing which devices can be used to access a cable-TV subscription outside the home. While someone logging in from a phone or tablet would be fine, someone using a Roku device at a second location could be considered a likely freeloader, one person said.

If none of those tactics work, pay-TV subscribers could someday be required to sign into their accounts using their thumbprints.

“I feel like I’m beating my head against the wall,” Tom Rutledge, the chief executive officer of Charter Communications Inc., said during an earnings call last month. “It’s just too easy to get the product without paying for it.”

But taking more aggressive measures poses risks. The people using services for free — especially younger consumers — may never agree to sign up for a subscription, no matter how many hassles they endure. That means companies would mostly just be alienating paying customers, who could get frustrated and stop using an app or cancel their service. In other words, there’s plenty of downside and possibly little upside.

“If you ask any cohort of young people if they will ever pay for Netflix or video services, the answer is unequivocally no,” said Mike McCormack, an analyst at Guggenheim Securities.

Password Pain

Account sharing is taking a growing toll on the U.S. pay-TV industry


The pay-TV industry is projected to lose $6.6 billion in revenue from password sharing and piracy this year, according to Parks Associates. By 2024, the number could grow to $9 billion, the research firm said.

Two years ago, some of the biggest names in entertainment and technology formed a group called the Alliance for Creativity and Entertainment, which was devoted to reducing online piracy. Last month, the group announced that it’s turning its attention to password sharing. Participants include Netflix, Inc., Walt Disney Co., Viacom Inc., AT&T Inc.’s HBO, Comcast Corp. and Charter.

There’s no consensus on where to draw the line.

Consumers can access streaming programming via apps from both distributors like Charter and programmers like Fox. As a result, both sides of the industry need to work together to solve the problem. Charter, which sells cable-TV service under the Spectrum brand, has said its recent distribution deals with Fox and Disney will help them address password sharing, but didn’t specify which measures they’d be taking.

While industry executives widely agree password sharing is a problem, there’s no consensus on where to draw the line. Programmers and distributors blame each other for being too lenient in how many people can simultaneously stream from one account. DirecTV and Comcast allow five streams. Fox and ESPN generally allow three.

Online TV services also vary in how generous they are about password sharing. Apple TV+, which launched Nov. 1, allows up to six people to stream from one family plan. Two upcoming services — AT&T’s HBO Max and NBCUniversal’s Peacock — aren’t ready to announce how many streams to allow, according to representatives for both companies. A spokeswoman for Disney+, which launches Nov. 12, didn’t respond to a request for comment.

Netflix allows just one stream for its basic plan and four streams for its most expensive service. Three years ago, CEO Reed Hastings said password sharing is “something you have to learn to live with, because there’s so much legitimate password sharing — like you sharing with your spouse, with your kids.”

Recently, there have been indications that the company may be reconsidering its tolerance. On an earnings call last month, Netflix Chief Product Officer Greg Peters said it is “looking at the situation” and seeking “consumer-friendly ways to push on the edges of that.”


Cry me a fucking river, (((Hollywood))).

Otis Boi

plushy Cow man extraordinaire
Hasn't this been a thing since netlfix started streaming?Wasn't the old work around limiting the number of streams that can simultaneously happen from one account. I at least knew Hulu would do that i think their limit was 2 or something. Just go back to do that limit a house account to 3 then have them pay extra for 4+ or you know not try to crack down on this because once you start to inconvenience people that when they turn to pirating because no one wants to pay for an inconvenience. Also isn't there a normie meme about you know you are really dating once they give you the netflix password or some shit.


Vivere Militare Est.
You know, having your own Plex server is really, really, nice. I've never paid for a streaming service.
The idea definitely sounds quite appealing. If I had enough time I'd consider building something like that, but as an audio library. Spotify can fuck off too.
ah, of course kf can't go one thread without sperging out about "teh jooz" or "teh brown people".
Good thing we have you, virtual good samaritan, to point that out.


True & Honest Fan
Retired Staff
Good luck making it more of a pain in the ass than just typing something into a torrent client and streaming right from the torrent. The moment you start making paid services require all sorts of bullshit and nonsense is when even the people currently paying for it tell you to go fuck yourself and start outright pirating.


My Balls!
Good luck making it more of a pain in the ass than just typing something into a torrent client and streaming right from the torrent. The moment you start making paid services require all sorts of bullshit and nonsense is when even the people currently paying for it tell you to go fuck yourself and start outright pirating.
We do that already

Amber the Hedgehog
Do they realize that password sharing is how many people pay for steaming in the first place? My sister who is university student has Netflix account only because she able to split the cost between friends. She likes Netflix well enough but if the option was full price or nothing she would opt for pirating the few original shows she actually interested and getting other things to watch completely legal means.


Genderfear - Thee/Thine
So let me get this straight; it's totally legal to make VHS tapes of TV shows via recording them on a VCR and distributing them as long as it wasn't for profit, but it's illegal to create digital copies of TV shows for the same reasons?

Y'all know what this means boys.

VCR bootlegs are gonna make a come back.


Government issued exceptional individual
Make people pay for password licenses. I think that's what the streaming service Britbox has already implemented.
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