- The Alliance for Creativity and Entertainment, a coalition of entertainment companies, has convened a working group to crack down on password sharing, per The Hollywood Reporter.
- Streaming companies are using a fancy word for password sharing: piracy. Very official.
- Netflix and co. didn't mind streaming pirates as much back when there was less competition and only room to scale and grow. Now, with so many streaming companies in the fray, they're cracking down.
There are really only two kinds of people in this world: Those who pay for streaming subscriptions, and those who leech passwords from friends, family, and strangers. While the former group has been clutch for the latter, companies like Netflix and HBO are finally starting to care about the whole symbiotic relationship and planning to crack down accordingly.
Specifically, the Alliance for Creativity and Entertainment—a coalition of over 30 entertainment companies and film studios—announced last week that it has created a working group to focus on unauthorized use of accounts.
The pilfering of passwords was fun while it lasted.
Turns out you can blame the Mouse House for this. With the Disney+ streaming service set to debut next week, Disney is bringing a sizable pull into the market. And it doesn't want you to share passwords.
Back in August, Disney teamed up with Charter, the second-largest cable operator in the U.S., to crack down on piracy. In a joint press release, the companies noted that they've entered into a new distribution agreement, where customers who pay for Spectrum (Charter's residential broadband service) can buy Disney services directly or through Disney. That includes not only Disney+, but Disney's other properties, like Hulu and ESPN+.
"This agreement will allow Spectrum to continue delivering to its customers popular Disney content, makes possible future distribution by Spectrum of Disney streaming services, and will begin an important collaborative effort to address the significant issue of piracy mitigation,” Tom Montemagno, EVP, Programming Acquisition for Charter, said in the press release.
So if you buy access to ESPN through your cable provider, and it's a Spectrum property, be aware that both Disney and Spectrum will be cracking down on your password sharing. The only thing is, neither company released additional details about how this would be done back in August.
Since then, the other big streamers have jumped in line with Disney. So why didn't they care before? Because they didn't have to.
Even a few years ago, streaming was a considerably less crowded landscape than it is today, so there was plenty of room to scale and grow. Eventually, executives reasoned, the viewers who got hooked on the content for free would eventually pay up when judgment day came. It was just in 2016 when Netflix CEO Reed Hastings actually said, "password sharing is something you have to learn to live with."
HBO President Richard Plepler has also said password sharing was a “terrific marketing vehicle” to get the next generation of viewers into the company's content.
There's still no hard lines in the sand, but some have suggested that companies will use two-factor authentication methods to cut down on sharing by using fingerprints, facial recognition, or text message codes like other websites do. There's also the option of regular password resets that will easily throw off some people that are too lazy to keep asking for the codes.
So what can you do? If you're absolutely, positively, resolutely against paying for multiple streaming services directly, you can ease your pain by paying for other services that include these subscriptions.
Sprint, for instance, offers "free" Hulu subscriptions to its unlimited data customers. In your heart, you know nothing is really free, but you don't get a separate bill, so at least you're psychologically tricking yourself.
Similarly, you can get Amazon Prime Video with your Amazon Prime delivery subscription, but then again, there's loads of content on there that you're required to rent or buy, plus channels inside the platform, like HBO, that are upgrades.
T-Mobile also offers one Netflix subscription for "free" when you open two lines or more.
Don't need a phone, cable plan, or shipping service anytime soon? You can still steal your friend's passwords for now. So go ahead and grab 'em while you can.
You Might Also Like