2017 has not been kind to cable companies. Cord-cutting is hitting new highs, as Netflix subscriptions have finally overtaken cable, and a million people are dumping their pay TV subscriptions every month.
To fight back against the streaming revolution, cable companies are employing some odd choices. Price hikes for cable and internet services have been announced by most of the major providers, and now it seems that cable execs are going after a new villain: Anyone who shares passwords.
A report from Bloomberg suggests that cable industry execs have highlighted password sharing as a major cause for concern, and streaming providers might be forced to crack down on it in the future. “There’s lots of extra streams, there’s lots of extra passwords, there’s lots of people who could get free service,” Charter CEO Tom Rutledge said at a UBS investor conference earlier this month.
Charter is taking action by “encouraging” its content providers to limit the number of simultaneous streams that can be viewed from one account. “During contract negotiations this fall, Charter urged Viacom Inc., home of Comedy Central and MTV, to help limit illicit password swapping,” Bloomberg says. “The cable company wants programmers to restrict the number of concurrent streams on their apps and force legitimate subscribers to log in more often, according to two people familiar with the matter who asked not to be identified discussing private deliberations.”
Limiting the number of simultaneous streams per account wouldn’t be out of the ordinary. Most streaming-first services like Netflix and Hulu already place a restriction on the number of streams, which more streams offered on the more expensive plans. But security measures like asking people to log in repeatedly would mostly just annoy rule-abiding subscribers with repeated logins. Maybe that’s the whole idea, though.