Hub: Streaming Passwords Shared by 80% of Teens, Young Adults

BOSTON—Some of the subscription figures that streaming services have may not show the whole picture of who all is watching their content, as password sharing with non-subscribers has become an increased worry, especially among the younger generation.

In its “Video Redefined” study, Hub has determined that password sharing is a particular problem among 13-24 year olds, with 81% having given or used someone else’s password. For 35-74 year olds that percentage drops to 29%, but still is nearly one in every three adults.

In terms of sharing passwords with someone not in the house, about 31% of all consumers confessed to doing it (64% 13-24 year olds, 16% of 35 and older). For the teens and young adults, Netflix is the most popular service to share at 56%, while Disney+, which launched in November 2019, is second at 31%; Hulu (30%), Apple TV+ (17%) and Amazon (14%) follow.

Even more consumers are likely to use a password for a service that they do not subscribe to—42% across all ages (78% 13-24 and 24% 35 and older). Netflix is still the most popular streaming service to access (69%), followed by Hulu (59%), Amazon (53%), Disney+ (53%), HBO Now (45%) and Apple TV+ (42%).

Viewers will often continue to use the shared password frequently. For 13-24 year olds, 77% will access Netflix at least every week; Hulu 73%, Disney+ 73% and Amazon 68%.

“Online streaming platforms must love it when one of their original shows generates massive buzz. After all, what better way to attract new subscribers than by offering hugely popular shows you can’t watch anywhere else?” said Peter Fondulas, principal at Hub and the study’s co-author. “But when popularity and exclusivity are combined with often ambiguous, even sometimes nonexistent, rules about legitimate use, it’s almost an invitation to subscribers to share the enjoyment with friends and family. Wall Street has already made its displeasure clear, but in spite of that, password sharing is still very much alive and well.”

More information is available on Hub’s website.