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Report: 40% of Americans are ‘Borrowing’ Someone Streaming Account

Jeff Kotuby

Just after Netflix announced it was cracking down on password sharing, LendingTree puts a spotlight on account moochers with its latest study.

According to data gathered by LendingTree, although 81% of consumers spend money on at least one streaming services, nearly 4 in 10 Americans are sharing streaming logins — and a third of those do it without the account owner’s knowledge.

Netflix is by far the most-mooched services, with 52% of moochers reporting they use someone else’s account to watch the red-and-black titan. Netflix also happens to be the most-shared service, with 72% of users admitting they let someone else use their account.

“It can make sense if you’d like to test drive a new streaming service to see if you’d like it,” said Matt Schulz, chief credit analyst for LendingTree. “Borrow your friend’s password, watch a couple of episodes of Wandavision or Bridgerton, see what you think and then, if you’re into them, get your own account.”

In most cases, there’s some sort of stream-sharing agreement in place between users, whether it’s sharing passwords or costs, or some other agreement. Often users share accounts with a family member — as 60% of surveyed users said — while others borrow from friends, significant others, or exes, the latter probably factors into the 32% of those surveyed who admit they log in without the permission of the account holder. Should these users get cut off, though, the numbers show the majority of them would purchase their own subscription rather than go without the service.

It’s no surprise to see which generations are streaming subscribers, either. 92% of surveyed millennials and 89% of Gen Zers all subscribe to at least one streaming service — and think sharing isn’t that bad. However, 66% of baby boomers don’t think the sharing practice is fair.

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