A British company tackles the solution that online streaming services have been looking for years: a smart system for detecting “illegal” users. The system recognizes users who share passwords and thus use one account with several people. With the system, a streaming service like Netflix can quickly act against sneaky viewers in the future.
Streaming services have been struggling for some time with the problem of “shared accounts”. For example, Netflix offers subscriptions for multiple users, but some choose to share their password with others, allowing them to enjoy the streaming service for free. According to a survey by Reuters, up to 21 percent of American youngsters would sometimes borrow someone else’s password for a streaming service such as Netflix, Amazon Prime or Hulu.
British company Synamedia now says it will come up with a solution. The company unveiled ‘Credentials Sharing Insight’, a smart system that provides streaming services with more information about the viewing behaviour of their users, at technology exchange CES in Las Vegas. For example, the system analyses a number of factors: the time at which users look, where they do it, the devices they use, what content they watch, and more.
Based on that information, it is calculated how likely it is that users share an account – without paying for a multi-user plan. If, for example, the system registers that one user watches a series in New York one time, but a few minutes later a film in Florida, then chances are that it is not the same person.
Whether the system is smart enough on the basis of artificial intelligence not to refer to travellers, commuters or students in dams as “suspects” remains to be seen.
After a suspicious use of an account is detected, the streaming service can decide for itself what needs to be done. One possibility is that a warning is sent. Or it can also be decided to immediately put the account inactive, as Spotify did with its users who enjoyed a premium subscription without paying. The system is already being tested by a number of companies, Synamedia assures, although it does not want to publish concrete names.