06:34 GMT09 August 2020
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    While the number of people one can share their Netflix account with depends on their personal plan, casual credentials sharing has become too expensive for the streaming service to ignore, a firm that can crack down on cheaters, has suggested.

    British software company Synamedia has developed a programme designed to stop users of media streaming services, such as HBO and Netflix, from illegally sharing passwords to their accounts with others.

    The way it works, is that streaming service companies would hire Synamedia, which in turn uses AI, behavioural analytics and machine learning to monitor and analyse password sharing activity across user accounts. The AI would then identify rule breakers, as well as detect the fine line between finding account sharers and harassing a customer.

    "For example, the solution can determine whether users are viewing at their main home and a holiday home, or whether they have shared credentials with friends or grown-up children who live away from home.  If the latter, then subscribers are offered a premium shared account service that includes a pre-authorised level of password sharing and a higher number of concurrent users," Synamedia explained.

    While, according to Netflix, "the number of users that can stream at the same time will depend on your Netflix plan," those who pass on their credentials unlawfully can be chased and identified by an algorithm used by Synamedia.    

    In this July 17, 2017, file photo the Netflix logo is displayed on an iPhone in Philadelphia.
    © AP Photo / Matt Rourke
    In this July 17, 2017, file photo the Netflix logo is displayed on an iPhone in Philadelphia.

    Presented with information on the illegal sharing and the accounts involved, the provider, for example Netflix or HBO, can choose how to proceed further. 

    Millenials to Blame

    Research quoted by Synamedia reported that younger generations are used to accessing streaming services for free and rarely become paying customers.

    The company revealed that 26% of millennials share passwords for video streaming services, while economic predictions indicate that in 2021, $9.9 billion of pay-TV revenues and $1.2 billion of over-the-top media services (OTT) revenues will be lost to credentials sharing.

    "Casual credentials sharing is becoming too expensive to ignore. Our new solution gives operators the ability to take action. Many casual users will be happy to pay an additional fee for a premium, shared service with a greater number of concurrent users. It's a great way to keep honest people honest while benefiting from an incremental revenue stream," said Jean Marc Racine, CPO and GM EMEA of Synamedia.

    According to the firm, if the AI finds the sharing pattern extreme, for example the credentials being sold online to multiple users, it would be able to shut down such accounts. 

    Trials of the machine learning system have already begun, Synamedia revealed. 


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    password, account, credentials, HBO, Netflix, United Kingdom
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