The Glory Days of Sharing Passwords to Stream Free TV May Soon End
The days of sweet, free streams with your friend's boyfriend's HBO login may soon come to an end.
A report from Bloomberg
on Wednesday claims a "crackdown" on password-sharing is coming thanks to cable TV providers losing billions of dollars to streaming freeloaders.
Leading the charge against password-sharing, Bloomberg reports, is
In an effort to reduce the number of stream squatters, Charter Communications is reporting asking Viacom, which operates popular channels like Comedy Central and MTV, to reduce the number of allowed simultaneous streams and force more frequent logins for paid users, according to Bloomberg. (Viacom and Charter Communications both declined to our requests for comment.)
Still, it's easy to understand why these companies would want to put an end to illicit password-sharing. As ESPN's Connolly described it, password-sharing is akin to "piracy," and he said that the public's indifference bolsters acceptance of the practice.
Just over 20 percent of streaming viewers ages 18 to 24, and 12 percent of adults overall, said they logged in to at least one streaming service using credentials owned by someone outside their household,
according to a Reuters/Ipsos poll
. According to Bloomberg, industry research firm Parks Associates found that one-third of internet users stream cable TV shows without paying for access, which, the firm estimates, costs cable companies $3.5 billion a year-a figure that could rise to nearly $10 billion over the next three years as more audiences move to streaming over traditional TV.
To reduced password-sharing, content providers could reduce the number of allowed simultaneous streams, as ESPN is doing, or force users to log in more often. These efforts could discourage account owners from liberally handing out their credentials at the risk of a more interrupted viewing experience. But who knows if that will have the intended effect.
It's also unclear how many people will choose to pay for cable TV service or
[ Bloomberg ]