A Lannister Always Pays His Debts — But Do Too Many Of His Fans Watch For Free? | WAMU 88.5 - American University Radio

A Lannister Always Pays His Debts — But Do Too Many Of His Fans Watch For Free?

Play associated audio

For today's All Things Considered story about people sharing their Netflix or Hulu Plus passwords, producer Sami Yenigun latched on to what could've been an ordinary entertainment-business story and front-loaded it with snippets of sound from Game of Thrones — attacking dragons, evil kings, treacherous harlots. He made it hilarious.

But if you don't have three minutes to listen, here's the gist: Analyst Michael Pachter of Wedbush Securities believes that as many as 20 percent of the people using subscription-based streaming services such as Hulu Plus, HBO Go and Netflix aren't paying for them — but are using other people's passwords.

Pachter sees password-sharing as a real challenge for an industry that's still in development. And he says there are ways companies might start cracking down — basically, by giving different IDs to a limited number of people who share the same account.

"So if two people use the same user ID at the same time, then the content owner is going to be notified there's an illicit user, and they'll probably turn off both accounts," Pachter explains, adding that there's a risk there in ticking off the legitimate users.

The heads of several of these companies have publicly stated they're not terribly bothered by password-sharing. But recently Netflix added an option that seemed to indicate concern; it allows four people to legally stream videos at the same time.

Pachter predicts that'll never happen with HBO Go. Persuading the cable companies — once one of only a few pipelines, and still a gateway, between content producer and consumer — to acquiesce to the idea would probably take an army.

Or — cue sound — a dragon.

Copyright 2013 NPR. To see more, visit http://www.npr.org/.

NPR

The Gift Of Eternal Shelf Life: 'Tuck Everlasting' Turns 40

In Natalie Babbitt's celebrated classic, a young girl stumbles upon a secret spring and the family the spring has given eternal life to. Babbitt says she wrote the book to help kids understand death.
NPR

Food Industry Drags Its Heels On Recyclable And Compostable Packaging

A new report from two environmental groups reviewed the recyclability and compostability of packaging from 47 food companies. It found few examples of companies that have prioritized waste reduction.
NPR

Guantanamo Bay A Sticking Point Between U.S., Cuba Since 1903

Guantanamo Bay is home to the United States' oldest overseas base. Melissa Block talks to Vanderbilt History Professor Paul Kramer.
NPR

With 'Discover' Feature, Snapchat Bucks Social Trend In News

Snapchat says social media likes and shares aren't what makes a story important. The ephemeral messaging app has rolled out Discover, featuring multimedia articles from major news brands.

Leave a Comment

Help keep the conversation civil. Please refer to our Terms of Use and Code of Conduct before posting your comments.