How Many Accounts Does Netflix Lose Because of Login Sharing?

A recent survey by GlobalWebIndex survey of 5,721 Netflix users in the United States and United Kingdom found that 65 percent of people watch on a shared account, meaning they are not the registered account owner.

That might suggest an awful lot of people are watching “for free,” and not paying. Of course, some of that shared viewing is intentional. Netflix allows members of an account household to do so.

Of course, at least some people not in an account household also share a login password. The issue is how many might be doing so.

In fact, 19 percent of respondents who have an account report sharing login credentials with three or more other people.

But Citi Research analyst Mark May does not think that is a problem, because most of the sharing occurs within single households.

As there are an estimated 45.6 million subscribers in the United States, May applied the percentages found in the GlobalWebIndex survey.

That suggests there are 15.9 million single-user accounts, 27.3 million two-user accounts, 21.9 million three user accounts and 34.6 million four-user accounts.

So May estimates that there are actually 99.8 Netflix users, compared to the just 45.6 million subscribers.

In principle, that might suggest Netflix is “losing” 54.2 million potential accounts because of login sharing.

But the average U.S. household has 3.1 members, which multiplied by Citi's estimate for Netflix subscribers means that about 143 million people in the United States are permitted to use a Netflix account.

In other words, most of the login sharing likely happens within account households.

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