But password-sharing crackdowns appear to be working. LRG found that 10% of Netflix subs borrow the service from another, compared to 25% in 2022 and 16% in 2018. Netflix went wide with new password-sharing policies last May.

Jeff Baumgartner, Senior Editor

March 20, 2024

2 Min Read
password shown inside a magnifying glas amid a bunch of ones and zeros
(Source: Brian Jackson/Alamy Stock Photo)

It seems that a subset of streaming subscribers continues to be in a sharing mood.

Some 10% of streaming video services are borrowed from someone else outside the household, Leichtman Research Group (LRG) found in a recent survey of 2,546 US households.

The sharing rate rises in the 18-34 age group, with 17% of all direct-to-consumer (DTC) services being fully paid for by someone else, versus 7% among those who are in the 35-plus age group.

The bulk of the streaming subs surveyed – some 73% – are paying the full freight and aren't sharing passwords outside of the household.

LRG's latest numbers illustrate why some of the top premium streaming services, including Disney, Netflix and Warner Bros. Discovery's Max, are cracking down on password-sharing or are in the process of introducing new password-sharing policies. That trend is coming together as streamers emphasize profitability over sheer subscriber growth.

"Password sharing continues to be prevalent throughout the streaming video industry, despite recent efforts to limit it," Bruce Leichtman, president and principal analyst for LRG, said in a release.

Netflix password sharing declines

However, Netflix's new policies appear to be working. LRG said 10% of consumers with Netflix borrow the service from someone else, down from 15% in 2022, 14% in 2020 and 16% in 2018. Netflix went wide with its "paid sharing" plan in May 2023.

Related:Study: Netflix's password-sharing crackdown poised to add subs and revenues

LRG's new study, "Internet-Delivered TV Services 2024" (its seventh on the topic), also found that 23% of all direct-to-consumer (DTC) services are used in more than one household, with 11% of them used and paid for by someone who shares them with another outside the household.

Additionally, about 2% of DTC services are used by multiple households that share costs, and 4% of DTC services are not paid for because they are bundled with another service, the study found.

LRG's survey also shined the light on the general rise of streaming adoption. The study found that 88% of US households have at least one streaming video service among 15 top streaming services: Netflix, Amazon Prime, Hulu, Disney+, Max, Peacock, Paramount+, ESPN+, Apple TV+, Discovery+, Starz, MGM+, Fox Nation, BET+ and Univision NOW.

About 53% of those surveyed take four or more DTC streaming video services, LRG said. The mean is higher (5.1) among adults 18-44, and lower (2.8) among people in the 55-plus age group.

Virtual MVPD satisfaction dips

The study also drilled down into the virtual multichannel video programming distributor (vMVPD) sector, which today is led by YouTube TV and its approximately 8 million subscribers.

Related:Disney hikes some streaming prices, eyes crackdown on password-sharing

LRG said 72% of vMVPD subs are "very satisfied" with their service, a drop from 79% in 2022. Some 22% of all vMVPD services are shared by multiple households, with 8% saying their vMVPD service is fully paid for by someone outside the household, the study found.

About the Author(s)

Jeff Baumgartner

Senior Editor, Light Reading

Jeff Baumgartner is a Senior Editor for Light Reading and is responsible for the day-to-day news coverage and analysis of the cable and video sectors. Follow him on X and LinkedIn.

Baumgartner also served as Site Editor for Light Reading Cable from 2007-2013. In between his two stints at Light Reading, he led tech coverage for Multichannel News and was a regular contributor to Broadcasting + Cable. Baumgartner was named to the 2018 class of the Cable TV Pioneers.

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