Cutting the cord using cable or satellite TV meant reductions in costs. But with the growing number of streaming services on the market, many customers consider that being a cord cutter is as costly as becoming a pay TV client, if not more so.
As a result, a lot of customers tend to “borrow” a subscription from a friend or family member. There are currently over 44 million U.S. adults “mooching” a video service subscription today, according to a recent report by Cordcutting.com.
Specifically, for both Netflix and Amazon Prime Video, the number of moochers is rising but for Hulu it is slightly declining.
Despite the potential revenue loss attributed to mooching, streaming services have not yet cracked down on password-sharing.
Of example, if Netflix were to charge someone for their own account that is mooching, it will produce an estimated $356 million in extra subscription fees per month. Combined, the top four streaming platforms — Netflix, Prime Video, Hulu and Disney+ — will raise $2.72 billion in subscription fee revenue if they could get all their moochers to pay for it.
In fact, though, if access was taken away, not everyone borrowing a subscription would pay out.
The study found that only 47 percent of Netflix moochers said that if they lost access, they would purchase a subscription, followed by 41 percent of Disney+ viewers, 38 percent of Prime Video viewers, and just 36 percent of Hulu viewers.
Streaming service providers also see these half-way-committed users as addicted to their content, which can be converted into their own subscription in a timely manner — when, for example, they went away from mom or dad or get a better-paid job.
In most cases the study found that moochers borrow an account belonging to their kin. Others borrow from siblings or a friend and some moochers even stream from an ex’s account in a few instances.
There are even apps designed to facilitate the mooching. For example, an extension designed to share Netflix passwords with friends, Do Not Pay launched in March. An app called Jam is also planning to launch its own dubiously legal password sharing program.
Despite today’s substantial number of moochers, the overall percentage dropped, the study found.
The number of moochers fell from 17 percent to 11.6 percent according to its 2019 poll. The move was largely due to declines in those credentials who post Amazon Prime Content.
As it turns out, many Prime Video moochers have now become Prime subscribers, which include Prime Video. In the last few years, Amazon has applied to its subscription system about 50 million additional users, which now tops 150 million worldwide. Such new members no longer need to mooch with built-in access.
The number of moochers will of course shift as the pandemic and unemployment impacts play out.
However one thing we do know is that COVID-19 has sent skyrocketing streaming.
Nielsen also announced a 36 per cent spike in viewing between February and March, with the average user watching double the amount of online content compared to last year’s same time.
Cordcutting.com’s study reports that there are now 142.5 million online users in the U.S., and 34 percent — or 63.4 million — have now fully cut the pay-TV cord. That’s up 4 percentage points from their last 2019 survey. Gen Z is the most likely generation to have cut the cable, as 45 per cent are streaming-only consumers, while Baby Boomers are only 17 per cent.
Netflix continues to be the most successful, followed by the newcomer Disney+, Prime Video, Hulu.
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