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Published on January 19th, 2018 | by Brad Gibson


Report: Video service password sharing not as big as you think

Using someone’s else’s password to access say HBO GO? It might come as a surprise that you’re in a small minority, according to new research.

16 percent of cord cutters, people who have opted out of standard cable TV subscriptions, and 18 percent of cord nevers, people who never had any standard TV subscriptions to begin with, are either sharing someone else’s password to access an online video account or providing their password for someone else to access their own account, according to market research firm Parks Associates.

Among the households (identified as ‘HHs’ in the graph below) in the U.S. with broadband (identified as ‘BB’) who are pay-TV subscribers, only seven percent indicated they use IDs and passwords for video services from people who do not live in their home, while only eight percent indicated they allow people outside their home to use their credentials.

parks associates graph

The report, obtained by, indicated 14 percent of cord cutters who use others’ credentials is double that of all pay-TV subscribers.

The firm found that the profile for live streamers is generally younger, with 19 percent of consumers ages 18-24 engaged in live streaming activity. That said, the demographic for the live streaming of television shows and sports tightened for older age groups, indicating that older viewers might be using these solutions to access illegal streams of content.

“Over one-third of households live-streaming TV shows or sports indicate the programming was available, but they opted for live-streaming because they did not want to pay for access,” said Brett Sappington, senior director of research at Parks Associates. “Over one-quarter stated that they accessed the content via live streaming because the price of the programming was too high. While these figures ultimately represent less than 5% of US broadband households, they are a significant portion of those watching app-based live streams.”

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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.

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