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Cable TV companies may begin to crackdown on password sharing

The days of password sharing among friends could be numbered.
Credit: iStock

If you’re currently using someone else’s password to binge watch your favorite television series, or if you share your own password with others, then those days may soon be coming to an end.

CEO of Charter Communications Tom Rutledge said during the annual UBS Global Media and Communications Conference

During the annual UBS Global Media and Communications Conference, Charter Communications CEO Tom Rutledge says password sharing is a growing problem with millions of people sharing their login credentials with others, which can cause pay-TV companies to lose billions of dollars.

“There are lots of extra streams, there's a lot of extra passwords, there are lots of people who could get free service,” Rutledge said during the conference.

Bloomberg reports Charter has been looking into ways to deal with cable subscribers sharing their logins and passwords with others and has already asked Viacom to help limit password sharing by reducing the number of streams allowed per login on it apps. Rutledge told Bloomberg that one “unidentified channel owner” had 30,000 simultaneous streams from one a single user account.

According to Rutledge, channel owners are to blame for allowing passwords and logins to be shared with people saying they don’t do enough to make sure their apps are secure. 

“They devalued their own product in a dramatic way, Rutledge said.

Justin Connolly, the executive vice president for affiliate sales and marketing for ESPN and Disney networks believes when account owners share their  passwords with others that it’s a form of “piracy.”

“It’s people consuming something they haven’t paid for,” he said to Bloomberg. “The more the practice is viewed with a shrug, the more it creates a dynamic where people believe it’s acceptable. And it’s not.”

Companies such as Netflix already limit users to two streams at the same time but they offer a plan that allows for four streams.

While it may be a cost-effective way to share the experience of streaming popular TV shows, don’t be surprised if TV companies begin to charge users more for multiple streams or increase the prices of their current services. The next time you to fire up that HBO app using your buddy's password you may find disappointment.