Modern OTT platforms, such as Netflix, supposedly have a sizable chunk of subscribers who share their account data logins with friends and family. (That said, Netflix does allow one account to have up to five individual profiles.)
At the Consumer Electronics Show, one software manufacturer, Synamedia, says it has developed new technology that helps streaming services with illegal sharing. Synamedia estimates that 26% of millennials with a Netflix account share them with others.
Is this akin to piracy, resulting in millions (perhaps billions) in lost revenue for the industry? For more than a few years now, HBO’s “Game of Thrones” has been the most-pirated TV show globally. How much lost revenue is that?
For a long time, HBO programming content -- residing originally as a premium, ad-free, extra-cost cable TV network -- has had somewhat of a scarcity-equals-premium value. “Thrones” is in big demand; people will go to extra lengths to get that show.
Now, all this is changing somewhat as premium TV providers, such as HBO and Showtime, offer OTT platforms to compete with digital platforms, such as Netflix, Hulu, Amazon.
What can and can’t be shared in the new digital media world?
Consumers are already accustomed to sharing personal videos/photos and other content on social media sites. Video in particular -- in all kinds -- can be somewhat accessible.
Much of illegal media sharing in the past focused on music. But now, with the rise of ad-supported and subscription digital music platforms, this business has made a transformation. Still, sharing copyrighted material is illegal.
In the future, media owners should take a different tack -- somewhat akin to Snapchat's original premise. It has ephemeral, short-lived content that only lasts 24 hours. After that, it disappears forever. You can’t steal what you can’t see.
But for big premium TV content -- looking for more of an ongoing, real-time promotional/marketing spin -- that can get complicated.