At CES 2019, a start-up presented a service using machine learning to track account sharing on a streaming service. The end of an era for Netflix? Maybe not.
Sharing his account on a service with friends is commonplace, and the arrival of Netflix seems to have popularized the practice. A subscription is too expensive? Just share the cost with friends so that the painful is immediately much more acceptable. Of course, this also works with other services like Spotify, Hulu or others, from the moment they offer a "family" account.
An English start-up called Synamedia, however, presented at Consumer Electronics Show 2019 a solution for these services to limit account sharing. The principle is simple, a machine learning algorithm analyzes the usage data of the account (location, times, type of content viewed …) and establishes a percentage of certainty of fraud.
"A typical pattern would be that a subscriber is simultaneously watching a program on the East Coast and the West Coast of the United States. It's unlikely to be the same person, "says Jean-Marc Racine, CTO of Synamedia. Once in possession of this information, the service can choose if it wishes to block the account or redirect his fraudsters to the premium subscription page.
Goodbye sharing Netflix?
This system dubbed Credentials Sharing Insight is currently being tested by a number of companies, but Synamedia has not yet specified which ones. Some people hastened to say "goodbye" to our shared accounts on Netflix, but it's important to remember that the SVOD service in question did not need a start-up to notice that its users shared their account with friends.
In 2016, Reed Hastings, CEO of Netflix, took advantage of the CES to say that he "loved that people share Netflix" and that it is "something positive, not negative". It is certainly a financial loss for the service, but difficult to figure, such as piracy for example. To reduce this loss, Netflix therefore prefers to consider an increase in its rates.
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