Curbing account sharing: how service providers can preserve revenue

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By Team ExpressPlay

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Password sharing is a rapidly rising issue for content and service providers, posing significant challenges and revenue loss, stemming from unauthorized access and content piracy. While users may innocently share their account information credentials with loved ones, we cannot ignore the serious implications for content creators and service providers. 

This blog post explores the complexities surrounding password sharing, considering both scenarios where the account owner willingly shares login information and cases where login credentials are shared with multiple people without the owner’s knowledge. A comprehensive approach is needed to address this challenge, integrating technological solutions, legal frameworks, and user education.

Understanding the two scenarios of account sharing 

In the first scenario, the account holder willingly shares login information with others, usually family or close friends. This is based on trust and is not intended to facilitate piracy or unauthorized access. However, it raises concerns regarding revenue loss and the potential violation of terms of service.

In the second scenario, account owners are unaware that their login credentials are being shared without their consent or knowledge. This unauthorized sharing can lead to widespread access by individuals who are not authorized users, potentially resulting in significant revenue losses for service providers. In this case, addressing the issue becomes more challenging as it requires detection, prevention, and education to discourage such practices.

Beyond the legal and ethical considerations, account sharing poses a substantial business challenge for service providers. It affects revenue generation and the ability to measure viewership data for content valuation and advertising purposes. It becomes imperative for service providers to address this issue promptly.

Implementing multi-faceted solutions

So, how do you crack down on account sharing? Service providers possess valuable information about the users accessing their content and where it is accessed. They have a range of powerful tools at their disposal, such as session management, DRM license management, and multifactor authentication. By harnessing these resources, service providers can monitor account-sharing activities.

Service providers can adopt various strategies and technologies to combat account sharing. Here are some key solutions that can help mitigate this issue:

  1. DRM (digital rights management): This technology sets usage rules for specific content. DRM licenses can define obligations, rental periods, and more. The robustness of the DRM client ensures proper performance and trust.
  2. Forensic watermarking and content tracing: Digital watermarking technology can serve as a deterrent against unauthorized content redistribution. Each stream can be uniquely marked, allowing service providers to trace the origin of leaked content and take appropriate action.
  3. Session management: This technology lets providers manage active sessions and establish specific rules. For instance, service providers can limit the number of concurrent streaming sessions per account.
  4. User authentication and authorization: Strengthening authentication processes can significantly reduce account sharing. By implementing robust identity verification methods, such as multifactor authentication, service providers can authorize access to their services only to positively authenticated users.
  5. Enhanced user monitoring: Monitoring user behavior and activity can provide valuable insights into potential account-sharing incidents. By employing advanced analytics tools, service providers can detect unusual usage patterns and identify accounts that may be shared without authorization.
  6. Personalization and exclusive content: By offering personalized recommendations and exclusive content, service providers can increase the perceived value of individual accounts, making users less inclined to share their credentials. Customized user experiences can enhance user loyalty and reduce the motivation for account sharing.
  7. Collaboration with content owners: Service providers can collaborate closely with content owners and licensors to establish mutually beneficial revenue-sharing models that incentivize them to combat account sharing. By aligning their interests, both parties can work to minimize unauthorized access and optimize revenue streams.

Conclusion

Account sharing presents service providers with a unique set of challenges that require thoughtful solutions. Providers can effectively combat account sharing by implementing technological measures like forensic watermarking, session management, and leveraging authentication and device management. Achieving a balance between revenue generation and user satisfaction is crucial in establishing a successful business model and fostering a sustainable digital ecosystem. 

Intertrust’s product portfolio offers a comprehensive suite of tools that, when combined, can help eradicate account sharing and protect the interests of service providers, content owners, and users alike. Finding a balance between revenue generation and user satisfaction is paramount to establishing a successful and sustainable business model.

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