Adobe has launched new machine-learning software that it believes could help solve Netflix’s password-sharing problem.
The company recently announced its Primetime Account IQ product for measuring, managing, and monetising credential sharing.
Adobe estimates that sharing account credentials between multiple households costs video streaming services in the US around $25 billion (R434.82 billion) in annual revenue.
As the biggest streaming service in the world, Adobe reckons Netflix loses around $9 billion in revenue every year due to the practice.
Adobe said current approaches to deter people from password-sharing, such as repeatedly requesting login information, enforcing strict device limits, limiting concurrent connection limits, and using multi-factor authentication, are too irritating.
Instead, it proposes using sophisticated machine-learning models to extract behavioural patterns in account usage and detect potential credential sharing.
Adobe said its Prime Account IQ system could collect data on how many devices are used on a single account and how many individuals are actively using it. It will also consider geographical locations — including distinct locations and span.
Putting all these variables together presents a “sharing probability” score, alongside usage pattern classification to identify travellers, commuters, close family and friends, and a second home.
If the system eliminates all of the latter possibilities and still finds sharing probability to be high, video streaming services can present those account users with an “Excessive Sharing” warning.
This will allow Netflix and other streaming services to identify problematic accounts and roll out solutions to changing their behaviour.
Those who continue to ignore the warning can be dumped from the service.
Netflix is already clamping down
However, Adobe’s software might be late to the party.
Netflix is currently testing its own account-sharing feature to encourage users that share a subscription to instead get an add-on sub-account for a smaller fee than the main package.
In countries where the feature is currently available, Netflix has imposed a limit by using IP addresses, device IDs, and account activity so that accounts can only be used regularly in one fixed location.
By paying a $2.99 fee, subscribers get an add-on account with its own location, login details, and user profiles.
Netflix will still allow users to use only the primary account outside their home for up to two weeks at a time, to cater for business travels or holidays.