Does streaming password sharing have a future?

Does streaming password sharing have a future?

  1. ingame
  2. Gaming News


Usually only people living together are allowed to share a streaming account. © Christin Klose/dpa-tmn

Customers of streaming services often want to share their access with others, but of course the providers do not want to steer this, or at least keep it within narrow channels. How is it going?

Berlin/Frankfurt – It was a bit cumbersome back then, when films were still captured on carrier media. Awkward if you had to borrow the VHS tapes and expensive if you bought them. Anyone who lent something out had to run after the cassettes to get them back. In principle, this did not change with DVDs or Blu-Rays either.

In the streaming age, on the other hand, at least sharing is much easier: there is an account and a password that can theoretically be passed on without any problems.

The reasons for sharing are obvious: if several people use a streaming account, it usually works effortlessly and they save money. What’s more: Unlike physical data carriers, sharing is not associated with any restrictions, since you don’t have to give or lend anything yourself that you might then be missing.

Sharing can also save family or flat share peace because you don’t necessarily have to agree on a film or a series. “Many services offer family accounts that can be used within the family or in a flat-sharing community,” says Berlin streaming expert Prof. Marcus S. Kleiner.

Actually there are rules

Normally, however, only people living together are allowed to use a streaming account together. This is written in the terms of service for most services. Of course, the streaming services also know that not everyone is sticking to it.

See also  WoW removes one of its most popular icons after 18 years: "Big mistake, Blizzard"

With reference to the terms of use, companies such as Dazn, Netflix or Sky remind subscribers by email that their service may only be streamed on devices in their own household and that sharing the login data with third parties is prohibited: non-household devices are welcome please remove it from the list of streaming devices or change your password right away.

Netflix goes one step further. Since August 2022, the group has been testing charging for use on an additional television. Initially only in five Central and South American countries (Argentina, Dominican Republic, El Salvador, Guatemala and Honduras).

Since March 2022, there has also been the option in three other Latin American countries (Chile, Costa Rica and Peru) to book sub-accounts for up to two people outside of your own household.

For the media scientist Prof. Gerd Hallenberger, this is “a more or less grudgingly responsive approach to a usage practice that Netflix cannot prevent anyway”.

Data Protection and Safeguards

It is well known that you can only be logged in to a limited number of devices at the same time or stream in parallel. What is new, however, is that Netflix is ​​now recording IP addresses and device IDs in the aforementioned pilot project in Central and South America in order to be able to see whether the terms of use are being circumvented.

Would such a location and device control also be conceivable in this country? “For data protection reasons, that would be problematic in Germany,” says Frankfurt media lawyer Severin Riemenschneider.

See also  The Lord of the Rings: Gollum: Game will be released on September 1st

However, in the past, Netflix has occasionally asked users to confirm their identity with a code. The codes were sent to the e-mail address stored in the customer account or via SMS to the stored cell phone number.

As a matter of principle, such “technical protective measures” must not be circumvented, says the lawyer, Riemenschneider. Anyone who does so, at least as a rule, does not commit a criminal offence: “It could at most be a matter of injunctive relief or claims for damages.” Pursuing these under civil law and with lawsuits would, according to Riemenschneider, “but hardly be worthwhile for the company” and “result in a massive loss of reputation ” mean.

With ads, it’s no longer streaming

Nevertheless, according to Prof. Kleiner, the “common practice of sharing accounts” has consequences for users – in financial terms. Illegal use is paid for with a higher subscription price, says the expert. The “funding imbalance” in streaming is obvious. In 2022 there were price rounds at a number of streaming providers.

At the same time, advertising-financed models are appearing. Amazon recently launched its Freevee offering. This means that streaming is becoming more and more similar to classic television, says Kleiner. His opinion: “Advertising is the death of the idea of ​​streaming.”

Share and see
Many streaming services offer family accounts – so the family or flat share doesn’t always have to agree on a film or series. © Zacharie Scheurer/dpa-tmn

Nevertheless, Netflix is ​​now also trying this route and has introduced a very cheap subscription with advertising for five euros a month. It’s also taking another step to limit account sharing and sell more paid subscriptions. Viewers using an account that isn’t theirs can now export their profile to start their own membership with their viewing history and lists. dpa

See also  Need for Speed: Unbound: The complete vehicle list with more than 100 cars