Mumbai: One in seven online video households worldwide is “borrowing” an account, a trend that it confirms is on the rise, revealed Ampere Analysis.
Ampere defines an account “borrower” as anyone who says they are using a login for a subscription online video platform from someone outside of their household to access a service.
In the past 12 months, the proportion of global internet users that are borrowing an account has increased, up from 8 percent in Q1 2019 to 11 percent in Q1 2020. Ampere estimates that there are 70 million households borrowing one or more OTT accounts across 22 markets worldwide.
The trend is highest in India, followed by the Netherlands and France. It is the lowest in Japan. Account borrowing is growing fastest in the U.K., China, and Indonesia.
Sports programming is particularly attractive to a subset of account borrowers. In Europe, a larger proportion of users of sports services such as NBA League Pass and NFL Game Pass are account borrowers. This is partly due to the seasonality of sport. Account borrowing by these users is likely to only be for a specific period, or by casual fans who don’t feel they watch enough to merit paying for a subscription.
Minal Modha, consumer research lead at Ampere Analysis, said: “We can see that households swap login details with friends and families to access other platforms, and we predict that as the subscription OTT landscape continues to fragment and consumers are faced with an increasing number of platforms to choose from, this borrowing behavior will become more prevalent.”
Many of the borrowers are legitimate paying customers though. Three-quarters subscribe to at least one OTT service, representing over 50 million households, and two-thirds have pay-TV at home. With more than half of borrowers saying they don’t mind paying extra for something that gives them exactly what they want, there could be an opportunity for subscription OTT players to convert borrowers to buyers.
Modha added: “With 50 million account borrowers paying for another subscription OTT service and more than two-thirds taking pay-TV, it’s clear that these consumers are not averse to paying for content. Subscription OTT players need strategies to respond to an increasingly saturated market and entice consumers with a finite budget for content to pay for their programming—even if that means changing tack and allowing them to dip in and out of subscriptions or for bite-sized chunks of content.”