With over 207 million subscribers, Netflix has made a name for itself as the largest streaming service in the world. Yet, the number of subscribers vs the number of users is a very different thing. With the option to open a premium account, which allows more than one person to be logged onto one sole Netflix account at a time, in quantities of up to four devices at any given time, the figure of 207 million suddenly seems larger. While Netflix stipulates that such premium multiple device accounts should strictly be used in one household, thus acting as a family account, this isn’t always adhered to by subscribers thanks to the phenomena of password sharing.
What is password sharing and why is it dangerous?
The name says it all – password sharing is where one person or business shares their login details, including their password, to someone else so that they can log in to their online account and share the services and products available. While this may seem like a selfless act, the risk of sharing passwords outweighs the benefits. Essentially, a password is a barrier used for the protection of personal information. Ultimately it allows businesses to identify a person and offer a tailored, personalized service. Yet, the more times a password is shared, the weaker the barrier becomes, which means there is an increased risk for stolen identity and hackers. While this is bad for businesses as they lose sight of the person they are tailoring their service to, which can ultimately lead to less custom. It is also bad for each individual, as they become more at risk of being hacked.
What does this mean for Netflix?
While password sharing can have severe consequences for the individual, it also poses complications for businesses and can affect their service offering, security, and revenue. Netflix, in particular, suffers a great deal thanks to password sharing, with figures showing a loss of $6 billion in revenue every year. This isn’t just pennies that we’re talking about here – it’s billions. It’s for that reason that the phenomenon of password sharing is so alarming, as it is keeping businesses from the reward they deserve for their service.
Having uncovered the losses due to password sharing, Netflix has implemented two-factor authentication. This means that users must retrieve a code from the subscriber of the Netflix account to use the streaming service. While this goes some way to prompt people to create their own account and stray away from password sharing, it doesn’t combat the problem altogether. Though, it’s hoped that this will help Netflix to see less loss which could mean that the $6 billion figure doesn’t seem so shocking in years to come. Netflix may explore more upcoming technology to urge customers away from password sharing.
As such an important security measure, passwords must be kept identifiable to the sole user and no one else. So, while it may seem tempting to share passwords with family and friends to save a small fortune, remember that it’s costing businesses a lot more and can jeopardize your personal information.