Netflix may be losing $192M per month from piracy, cord cutting study claims

netflix-app-icon-iosAs many as 1 in 5 people today are mooching off of someone else’s account when streaming video from Netflix,  Hulu  or Amazon Video, according to a new study from CordCutting.com. Of these, Netflix tends to be pirated for the longest period — 26 months, compared with 16 months for Amazon Prime Video or 11 months for Hulu. That could be because Netflix freeloaders often mooch off their family instead of a friend — 48 percent use their parents’ login, while another 14 percent use their sister or brother’s credentials, the firm found.

At a base price of $7.99 per month (the study was performed before Netflix’s January 2019 price increase), freeloading users could save $207.74 over a 26-month period. At scale, these losses can add up, the study claims.

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The history of Netflix price increases in a single chart

Yesterday Netflix announced it will be raising its monthly subscription prices as much as 18 percent — but it has been steadily increasing rates since its first streaming jump in 2014.

The hikes will help Netflix pay for its ever-increasing content bill. Investors think that’s a good idea — the stock rose 6.5 percent yesterday and analysts released a bunch of optimistic ratings.

The price of premium service, which now includes Ultra HD streaming on up to four devices, jumped up $2 to $15.99, while a basic subscription price rose for the first time to $8.99.

Here’s what Netflix price increases have looked like over the years, according to data from investment research company Bernstein:Screen Shot 2019-01-29 at 9.10.25 AM.png

Netflix is now worth more than Comcast

Screen Shot 2018-05-24 at 8.30.05 AMNetflix’s market value increased to about $150 billion today; it is now worth more than Comcast.

Comcast, the largest U.S. cable company, has been losing video subscribers as people cut the cord and move to streaming services … such as Netflix. Comcast had 22.3 million pay TV subscribers in the first quarter of 2018, down from 22.6 million a year earlier.

Meanwhile, Netflix has been gaining streaming users, adding more than seven million subscribers in the first quarter.

Of course, Comcast and Netflix have completely different businesses. Comcast owns a sizable broadband company in addition to cable. It also owns NBC and Dreamworks. It’s also planning on bidding on Fox’s movie and TV studios, cable networks and even a stake in Netflix competitor Hulu.

And most of Netflix’s growth is coming from its international expansion.

But the symbolism is hard to resist.

Netflix still has a huge lead in the streaming wars, but Hulu’s smaller service has loyal users

One big difference between regular TV and streaming TV is that streaming TV is pretty murky when it comes to numbers: We don’t know much about how many people are watching streaming TV services, or what they’re watching.

So here’s a little bit of light, courtesy of a new report from comScore: A chart that shows us the relative popularity — and usage — for Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Video and YouTube.

Most important caveat here: ComScore’s data, from December 2016, is measuring video streamed over Wi-Fi, at home, to TV sets. So it’s missing what’s happening on phones in and out of homes — which is a big deal — and what’s happening over wireless networks — a smaller deal.

Still, if we assume this data is at least directionally correct, it’s helpful.

We did know that Netflix is far and away the leader when it comes to streaming TV — the service says it has about 50 million subscribers. And comScore’s data syncs up with that, pegging the service’s penetration at about 40 percent of homes with Wi-Fi.

It is interesting, though, to see how far behind YouTube is when it comes to getting video to your TV. The world’s biggest video service gets to TV sets in less than 30 percent of the U.S., per comScore.

That may explain why YouTube is going to launch its own pay TV service — though YouTube has taken pains to describe YouTube TV as a “mobile first” offering.

And while Amazon and Hulu have been making a big push to build up their offerings, they’re still far behind. On the other hand, if you compare comScore’s data to earlier estimates from broadband services company Sandvine, they may be making progress. (Yet another caveat: Sandvine is measuring the amount of data those services push out; comScore is measuring how many homes they reach. So this is apples and oranges. Still, fruit.)

The other big takeaway: People who do use Netflix use it a lot — and so do people who use Hulu. Both services engage their users for more than 25 hours a month, comScore says.