About 10 percent of adults admit that they access Netflix’s subscription content via passwords from another household, according to a new poll conducted by Morning Consult.
The survey, which had the participation of 2,000 U.S. adults from April 15 to 17, further revealed that baby boomers, at 16 percent, were the worst offenders of password sharing, followed by millennials and Gen-Xers both at 9 percent, and Gen-Zers at 7 percent.
Additionally, nearly 30 percent of respondents stated that they subscribe to Netflix but don’t share their password with anyone else, while 17 percent said that they subscribe and share their password with someone they live with and 4 percent said that they share their password with someone they don’t live with.
There also seems to be a market for paid password sharing. The poll showed that one-third of streaming subscribers said that they would “definitely” or “probably” pay a fee to continue to share their password. Roughly half of current password sharers acknowledged that they would consider signing up for their own subscription if they could no longer share an account or password with another individual.
The survey results come on the heels of Netflix’s highly disappointing earnings report earlier this week that revealed that the company shed 200,000 paid subscribers in the first quarter and projected that it would lose 2 million more in the second. The subscriber loss was a first for the company in more than a decade.
The streaming giant—which still currently boasts 222 million subscribers globally—estimated that more than 30 million U.S. and Canadian households are using shared passwords and an additional 100 million households are doing so worldwide.
“Our relatively high household penetration—when including the large number of households sharing accounts—combined with competition, is creating revenue growth headwinds,” Netflix stated in its quarterly shareholder letter. “Account sharing as a percentage of our paying membership hasn’t changed much over the years, but, coupled with the first factor, means it’s harder to grow membership in many markets, an issue that was obscured by our COVID growth,” it added.
Netflix has suggested that a global crackdown on password sharing could be imminent, with such measures potentially including charging users a fee for sharing their accounts outside of their household. According to Reuters, Netflix already has started charging users in Chile, Costa Rica, and Peru an additional fee to share their accounts with up to two people.
Some analysts, however, were skeptical of the company’s plans. “We don’t believe that this strategy will be the panacea that some investors have outlined over the last few years,” Morningstar analyst Neil Macker told Reuters. “Netflix may be able to squeeze a few more dollars out of some of the primary households, but we think that other ones will look at the new sharing fee as another pricing increase and cancel,” he concluded.
Ethen Kim Lieser is a Washington state-based Finance and Tech Editor who has held posts at Google, The Korea Herald, Lincoln Journal Star, AsianWeek, and Arirang TV. Follow or contact him on LinkedIn.