New software may put an end to Netflix password sharing

A video software firm has come up with a way to prevent people from sharing their account details for Netflix and other streaming services with friends and family members.

UK-based Synamedia unveiled the artificial intelligence software at the CES 2019 technology trade show in Las Vegas, claiming it could save the streaming industry billions of dollars over the next few years.

Casual password sharing is practiced by more than a quarter of millennials, according to figures from market research company Magid.

Separate figures from research firm Parks Associates predicts that by $9.9 billion (£7.7bn) of pay-TV revenues and $1.2 billion of revenue from subscription-based streaming services will be lost to credential sharing each year.

The AI system developed by Synamedia uses machine learning to analyze account activity and recognize unusual patterns, such as account details being used in two locations within similar time periods.

The idea is to spot instances of customers sharing their account credentials illegally and offering them a premium shared account service that will authorize a limited level of password sharing.

"Casual credentials sharing is becoming too expensive to ignore. Our new solution gives operators the ability to take action," said Jean-Marc Racine, Synamedia's chief product officer.

"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."

The company said it is already carrying out trials with a number of pay-TV operators but did not reveal which ones.

Pay-TV operators and streaming services will be able to integrate the AI software into their existing platforms, helping them track down large-scale operations of account sharing, the company said.

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