This is all about detecting the sharing of login credentials – using someone else’s login to access a Pay-TV service without paying. Most login credential sharing is casually done by legitimate users without the intention of making money (e.g., two legitimate customers share their respective Netflix and Disney+ login credentials with each other rather each of them subscribing to both services).
Such account sharing is difficult to detect as, often, such OTT services allow the use of multiple devices for a given account (household) and allow multiple concurrent streaming sessions. The association between IP address and device can help to spot some such sharing behaviors, but with the ever-increasing use of BYOD devices with different family members living in different houses or travelling, account sharing detection with fewer false positives is not easy. If a service provider restricts access based on data that includes false positives, it could lead to subscription cancellations. In addition, the use of IP proxies or VPN services only makes the problem more complex – users sometime use VPN-type services for security reasons when travelling or using public WiFi.
Hence, there should be a data-driven approach to the problem, in which advanced algorithms can be executed to isolate the real business-harming account credentials cases. It is a scenario-based approach:
- Allow the user to use their credentials when travelling – which means considering only the account IDs for licence requests made from several geographic locations on the same day or for more than two days per month.
- Allow the use of proxies or VPNs when travelling – which considering only frequent use of a proxy or VPN.
- Allow family members from different countries to share credentials – which means considering only account IDs connecting from different countries with a number of devices beyond a certain limit (e.g., five) and with IP addresses changing more frequently than usual.
As such, these scenario-based approaches can quickly become complex if service providers want to adopt a flexible approach to give access to users without disappointment – many users (e.g., the younger generation) are in favour of reasonable sharing.