Password sharing cost streaming platforms billions of dollars

Less than half of those sharing a password for streaming services say they would actually pay if cut off.

Welcome to the FWIW newsletter about tech, media & audio written by David Tvrdon. 🌐 Read it online and 👉 be sure to subscribe, if you were forwarded this newsletter.

In this edition

When technology looks like magic

💁 Password sharing is a multi-billion dollar issue

💬 Other news: NYT passes 6 million subscribers, Disney+ has 55M subscribers & more.

Why this AR “magic” is so compelling

📷 by Cyril Diagne

Honestly, I couldn’t stop thinking of this AR copy & paste feature since I’ve first seen it on Twitter. Actually, the code behind it is open-source.

Maybe to someone with coding skills, this looks like business as usual, but for me (and hundreds of thousands of people on Twitter resharing the video in awe) it was pretty striking.

For a long time, I have believed AR to be more useful than VR. Actually Pokémon GO was the first time I have truly thought to myself this AR thing is really something.

Anyway, the artist/programmer behind it goes into detail explaining how he got there.

Though for me a quote from Twitter was much more revealing, someone retweeted the video with the idea that we have come so far that technology appears to do magic.

This idea of technology and magic has been around pop culture for a long time. I am sure you remember the first Thor movie by Marvel. There was a scene when Thor explained:

Your ancestors called it magic but you call it science. I come from a land where they are one and the same.

Well, this week I felt a little like being on Asgard 😅

All in all, this short demonstration of human creativity melted with the latest technology advancements once again showed me why I love covering tech so much.

Nope, there is no other point here, I just wanted to share this feeling.

There are billions of dollars in password sharing

📷 by unDraw

There is a new report out on cord-cutting saying there are more than 44 million passwords being shared across various services (mostly Netflix).

The report found, that Netflix, Hulu, Amazon Prime Video, and Disney+ could generate a combined $2.72 billion in revenue from subscription fees if all the people who said they’d pay for a subscription actually did.

Although the authors conclude that less than half of those people would be willing to pay for the services if they were cut off (by friends and family).

Netflix has dealt with this issue in the past and decided to leave it alone, at least till the time its quarterly subscriber growth is not declining.

There are some interesting stats in the report. You can see based on the results which streaming platforms are used by which generation:

Also, this is an amazing breakdown of who is paying for the platform (it’s usually the family members):

In other news


🦾 AI to help with economy. The US business technology company Salesforce has developed a system called the AI Economist that uses reinforcement learning—the same sort of technique behind DeepMind’s AlphaGo and AlpahZero—to identify optimal tax policies for a simulated economy. In one early result, the AI found a policy that—in terms of maximizing both productivity and income equality—was 16% fairer than a state-of-the-art progressive tax framework studied by academic economists. [MIT Technology Review]

💻 Apple announced a new 13-inch MacBook Pro with Magic Keyboard.

💻 Microsoft launched its Surface Book 3 laptops and new Surface Go 2.


🗞️ The New York Times reached 6 million digital subscribers. Ad revenue was down, and chief executive, Mark Thompson, gave a bleak forecast for ads. [NY Times]

  • One surprising thing: Times print operation still accounted for the majority of subscription and ad revenue. For the quarter, the print subscription business brought in $155.4 million for the company, while the digital subscription business accounted for $130 million. On the ad front, print generated $55 million, versus $51 million from digital.

📺 Disney+ now has 55 million subscribers. Though the company takes a big hit - profit dropped more than 90 percent (because the parks were closed and movie theaters as well). [NY Times]

🎥 The top TV shows people have started watching for the first time while social distancing. The streaming search engine Reelgood compiled a list of the top shows that its users have started watching in the beginning of the corona crisis. It then calculated the shares of first-time streams for those top titles and ranked them accordingly. [Business Insider]

  1. Ozark (Netflix)

  2. Tiger King: Murder, Mayhem, and Madness (Netflix)

  3. Breaking Bad (Netflix)

  4. Game of Thrones (HBO)

  5. Westworld (HBO)

  6. Better Call Saul (Netflix)

  7. The Office (Netflix)

  8. The Good Place (Netflix)

  9. Stranger Things (Netflix)

  10. The Walking Dead (Netflix)

🎮 Fortnite is now one of the biggest games ever with 350 million players. Epic, the studio behind the game, announced it this week, though we don’t actually have the number of monthly active users. [The Verge]

📈 Google finally announced and launched the Google Podcasts Manager. Podcasters can finally get more insight into this data. Reminder from Podnews: Google Podcasts is now the most popular Android podcast app. [Blog.Google]

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