Cable companies want this to stop, obviously, because anyone who relies upon a borrowed password isn’t paying for the service. And, with cord-cutting showing no signs of slowing down, they’d like everyone who watches their programming to pay for it. According to a recent Bloomberg story, cable companies are banding together to put a halt to it.
One such company is ESPN, which soon will be launching ESPN Plus, its over-the-top streaming service that will deliver thousands of sporting events that aren’t broadcast on the main ESPN networks.
“It’s piracy,” Justin Connolly, executive vice president for affiliate sales and marketing for ESPN and other Disney networks, told Bloomberg. “It’s people consuming something they haven’t paid for. The more the practice is viewed with a shrug, the more it creates a dynamic where people believe it’s acceptable. And it’s not.”
Connolly recently conducted a survey of 50 millennial sports fans, asking how many of them shared their passwords. Every single one of them raised their hand, he told Bloomberg.
There are two ways the cable companies can put a halt to all this sharing.
- By making legitimate subscribers provide their login information more often. Bloomberg says most cable companies require subscribers to log in only once per year.
- By reducing the number of simultaneous streams that cable networks allow on their apps. Connolly says ESPN has reduced that number from 10 to five on its Watch ESPN app, and may cut it to three.
Parks Associates, a market research company, estimates that 16 percent of broadband subscribers “admit to either using someone else’s credentials to stream cable TV or sharing their login info with someone outside their home,” Bloomberg’s Gerry Smith reports. This year, Parks Associates says that cost cable companies $3.5 billion. By 2021, it’s expected to rise to $10 billion.
Of course, cable companies already are combating these losses by continuously jacking up prices for their customers. But still, they’d rather you not share your passwords.