News Couple watching TV at home together

Published on January 17th, 2019 | by Brad Gibson


Ever shared that Netflix password? Study says you’re not alone

Would you ever admit to giving a friend and family member say your HBO GO identification and password? If you believe those surveyed were being completely honest, a new study says 16 percent of broadband-enabled households in the U.S. share passwords with other people to subscription services. The research also sheds light on the future of password authentication for video services and how far consumers would be willing to go in using them.

The figure from the research firm Parks Associates reveals that while a small minority of people admit to sharing passwords to subscription streaming services, 62 percent of those surveyed are highly concerned with hackers accessing their online services and personal information.

But would consumers be willing to engage in a more secure form of video service authentication to log into their Netflix or Sling TV account? According to the survey, the answer is no.

Only one-third or fewer of U.S. broadband households would accept using a non-password authentication method such as their voice or thumbprint, while 54 percent said they were willing or very willing to enter a username and password once and save it on a device.

Parks research analyst Billy Nayden noted that the idea of passwords is ingrained in the video service experience, but he sees the move to biometric security as essential, good for both the services and their customers.

“As the number of connected devices and subscription services available to the consumer rises, passwords will become an increasingly cumbersome burden for users,” Nayden says. “Remembering multiple usernames and passwords is already difficult for most users, and increasing the number of logins will only exacerbate that challenge. While there will be intermediate steps, like password managers, to encourage a change in consumer behavior, ultimately, more advanced methods of authentication, like biometrics, will become mainstream.”

For new sign-on methods to gain consumer acceptance, Nayden said they will have to work perfectly every time to avoid confusion and customers canceling their subscriptions.

“To drive adoption of new authentication methods, the industry needs to deliver a frictionless user experience, bringing a more personalized approach to authentication in addition to increased security,” Nayden said. “Poor experiences with authentication and personalization technologies will drive consumers back to traditional methods and increase churn for video services. The smartphone will be one of the gateway devices toward a more biometric approach to user authentication—the top 15 smartphone models in the U.S. all have some form of biometric technology.”

Tags: , , ,

About the Author

Brad is co-founder and editor-in-chief of He has been a technology reporter since the late 1980s having previously worked for MacUser, MacFormat, and iCreate magazines, as well as,,,, and He hosted and produced the MacFormat This Week podcast for three years. He was also a reporter, editor, and producer for the AOL, the BBC, Associated Press, and United Press International.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Back to Top ↑