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Here's How Much Money Netflix Is Losing to Subscription Mooching

Are your days of skimming movies and TV shows from others numbered?

It's no secret that Netflix has a lot of money—so much, in fact, that there are SNL skits about executives essentially hurling cash at any recent film grad with an idea for a Netflix Original movie. According to Forbes, the streaming service now has a market value of more than $152 billion, placing it ahead of both Comcast and Disney. And now that the "King of Binge" is raising its subscription prices on all plans—from $7.99 to $8.99 for the cheapest option, a one-screen plan—that number is bound to get even higher.

But, according to a new survey of over 1,000 people by, it could be making a lot more if it weren't for "subscription mooching"—otherwise known as the practice of using someone else's log-in information to access an account. The study found that while Netflix has a reported 137 million subscribers, only 85 percent of them actually pay for the service they use. When multiplying the number of people watching Netflix on someone else's account (approximately 24 million) by the base subscription cost ($7.99), they determined that the streaming giant is losing a whopping $2.3 billion in yearly revenue due to mooching. (Yikes!) This is compared to only $540 million lost by Amazon Prime and $480 million lost by Hulu, even though Hulu actually has the most moochers (19.2 percent) as compared to Amazon Prime Video (16. 5 percent) and Netflix (15 percent).

Of the age groups, Millennials had the highest rate of subscription mooching. And while people were most likely to use their parent's login details for Netflix or Amazon Prime, Hulu moochers were most likely to use the account of a significant other. The study also found that people who mooch are generally unlikely to only use someone else's log-in details for just one evening or one show, using the borrowed account for an average of 26 months, which enables them to save over $207 during that time period by watching Marie Kondo's new show courtesy of dear old mom and dad.

The majority of moochers (59 percent) did say that they'd purchase their own subscription to Netflix if they lost access to their current account, versus 37.8 percent of Hulu moochers and 27.6 percent of Amazon Prime Video moochers. For Netflix, that would mean an increase in revenue of about $112 million per month. Women were more likely than men to say they'd be willing to get their own account, which might be because the survey says they spend 50 more hours binging on Netflix content than men over the course of one year.

Given all of this lost revenue, it's perhaps no wonder that Netflix is making an attempt to clamp down on subscription mooching. At a technology event in Las Vegas, software firm Synamedia recently unveiled new AI technology that would be able to track down any account caught sharing its login details. And while your mooching days may be numbered, it might be for the best—given that a recent study found that Watching Netflix Is Killing Your Sex Life.

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Diana Bruk
Diana is a senior editor who writes about sex and relationships, modern dating trends, and health and wellness. Read more