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Survey: 40% of Americans Resell Their Streaming Subscription Logins

Aubrey Meister

Many people choose to share their streaming subscriptions with friends and family members. Not only are subscribers sharing their login information, but they are also reselling it.

A new study from Red Points, a firm that works with companies to put an end to piracy and fraud, shows that 40% of adults sell the passwords to their streaming subscriptions. Two-thirds of those who pay for one or more logins that are not their own are between the ages of 18 and 30.

The study also examined how these accounts are sold, finding that 65% are resold via social media platforms, while 56% are resold via encrypted messaging.

The Red Points study found that 51% of Americans share one or more subscriptions with friends or family and don’t charge them. While Netflix has attempted to put an end to subscribers sharing their passwords with people outside of their households, not much has been done yet. At this point, the only action is a pop-up on the login screen that asks users to subscribe to their own account if they don’t already have one. The same screen requests an email or text message verification, but that’s easily bypassed with a “verify later” button. It’s unclear if the company will try to crack down any harder.

Red Points Chief Marketing Officer Sergei Garcia explains the legality of it all, saying, “The big issue here is that it’s not illegal [to re-sell login info]. What’s happening is not copying and distributing illegally, but granting access illegitimately. So it’s not necessarily against the law, but against the service’s license agreement, which makes it a bit more complex to deal with — and that’s also what’s making it easier and less risky for people to want to do this. And that’s what’s making the problem so complex and growing so fast.”

Because subscription-based streaming services, like Disney+, Netflix, and HBO Max, bring in revenue per subscription, shared and resold accounts could have a major impact. It will be interesting to see what approach these companies decide to take with shared and resold subscriptions.

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