GoT streamers embrace password-sharing | Media Analysis | Business
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A survey of consumers conducted by Hub Entertainment Research and Dynata has revealed widespread password-sharing among viewers who watched the 14 April Game of Thrones (GoT) premiere from an online platform.

gameoft 17April2019 landsThe research showed that largest premiere audience was on traditional pay-TV: 56% said they watched through a pay-TV set-top box, either live, recorded on a DVR or through video-on-demand. However, 39% watched from a legitimate online source: HBO Go, HBO Now, the website or app of their pay TV provider, or through an HBO subscription from an online provider like Amazon, Hulu or DIRECTV Now. Another 4% said they watched from an unauthorised source, like Torrent sites or a Kodi application.

Password sharing was common among GoT premiere viewers: Among those who watched from an authorised online source, 75% said they own the account associated with the password they used; and 16% used a password they got from a family member living somewhere else. About 9% used a password they got from a friend.

Sharing passwords was even more common among young people: Viewers age 16-24 were more likely than older consumers to say they watched the premiere online (48%), either through an authorised or unauthorised source. Nearly a third of 16-24 year olds (29%) who watched online from an authorised source used someone else’s password to watch. This was more likely to be a friend (18%) than a family member (11%)

“HBO is justifiably proud of the record numbers the Game of Thrones premiere pulled in—17.4 million viewers across platforms, according to its announcement on Monday,” said Peter Fondulas, principal at Hub and co-author of the study. “But with online platforms making up a significant portion of viewing, that success is tempered somewhat by the fact that one in four online viewers watched from an account they don’t pay for.”

Interestingly, the survey also found that GoT creates HBO subscribers: about a fifth (18%) of those who watched the premiere episode through their own HBO account (traditional pay-TV or online) have had an HBO subscription for just three months or less (18%). What’s more, of those who subscribed within the past three months, 60% say they signed up only to watch GoT.

In bad news for the premium cable network, 14% of those who watched the premiere say they’re likely to drop their HBO subscriptions when GoT season 8 is over; another 6% aren’t sure if they’ll keep it.

“This research shows how important great content is in a ‘peak TV’ environment,” said Jon Giegengack, principal at Hub. “The new services from Disney and Apple will make the market even more saturated. This research is further evidence that consumers will follow must-see content, including signing up for a subscription if they need one to watch a specific show.”