Editor's note: Share & share alike... or not

By the sounds of it, casual credential sharing (that moment when you give your relatives, partners, friends, friends of friends your user name and password) isn’t that much of a known or acknowledged problem in Asia.

But there’s also no reason to believe that what’s happening on a grand scale in the rest of the world isn’t happening here or won’t happen in our part of the world, especially as subscription-based streaming services attempt to make a fair dollar off deep investments.

Casual sharing stats are pretty astonishing. Depending on who you listen to, between 27% and 55% of paying subscribers in the U.S. and other parts of the world share their log-in details. Most of the sharing is among people who know each other.

The biggest hole caused by sharing is lost revenue. Then there is the strain on infrastructure, particularly for live events. Plus there’s the security risk for consumers, many of whom use the same passwords across multiple services.

The thing is, about half of sharers would be willing to pay if their access was cut off. Research company Cartesian says 42% of respondents in its survey say they will pay for the services they currently share.

If opinion is divided on how to label and define the issue (is it really piracy?), the general consensus is that this is not the time or place to go in with guns blazing. The charm offensive revolves around a mix of tech and marketing smarts. It’s all possible. Whether or not it’s do-able is up to the companies and how much they care about losing out.

Published in ContentAsia Issue Six 2019, 4 November 2019