Using your friend’s Netflix account? There’s some bad news for you

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  • Many Netflix users end up sharing their passwords with friends and family, a problem the streaming platform faces globally.
  • A UK-based startup, Synamedia, is offering AI-based solutions to track accounts with shared passwords.
  • India is the third largest market for Netflix.
There are two kinds of Netflix viewers - the ones who pay for their account and the ones who are friends with those who pay.

For those in the second category, streaming platforms could soon be able to track down multiple users sharing the same account.

At the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2019 being held in Las Vegas, a UK-based startup, Synamedia, offered its Artificial Intelligence-led solution to service providers to take a sneak peek into their user analytics.

With this tool, online streaming sites will be able to get data on devices using the platform and the duration for which the person was logged in. The aggregated data, including the content consumed, can be shared with the service providers.

Right after CES, Europe’s leading media and entertainment company Sky invested in the startup, which already boasts of high-profile clients like Tata Sky, Comcast and Disney among others.

Globally, Netflix added seven million subscribers in Q3 of 2018 along with reported earnings of 89 cents per share on revenue of $4 billion. In India too, Netflix has been adding more and more users, with the country becoming the third-largest market for the global company.

However, the problem of 'shared users' is a global problem for online platforms.

Netflix under its different plans allows a maximum of six users to use one account, Amazon Prime allows a maximum of three users, while for Hotstar only one user can use an account at a particular time.

A survey done by Pixights Consulting, which covered 1,800 people from across India, showed that over 70% respondents share their accounts of Netflix, Hotstar and Amazon Prime with others.

Netflix, whose pricing plans start at 500 and above, is still considered a premium service in India. Rivals like Amazon Prime costs ₹129 for a month while Hotstar charges ₹199 for a month.

Synamedia’s AI tool may just what these companies need to plug the profit leaks. But for users, the solution could soon spell trouble, until of course another trick comes their way.

See more:
Here's why OTT platforms were a big hit among Indians in 2018
India’s new cable TV pricing will force broadcasters to put on better shows
India produces the largest number of films in the world — But a large section of its population still doesn’t have access to cinema screens
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