A Growing Problem: Unwanted Credential Sharing & Theft
How many people are stealing your video service? Most streaming video businesses cannot answer this question. More viewers than ever are watching video content online, across a range of platforms and devices. In many cases, viewers can access valuable video content without purchasing their own subscription, using borrowed or stolen credentials (i.e. passwords) to bypass traditional access restrictions.
For distributors of streaming video content, credential sharing (a.k.a. password sharing) is any activity that involves a non-subscriber using a subscriber’s pin or code to access exclusive video content outside the subscriber’s household. This password sharing activity has become an increasing problem for the Pay TV and OTT video industry.
Because instances of credential sharing can range from authorized casual sharing among family or household members to outright fraud, identifying the extent of the activity and the impact on your business not only requires reliable tools to catch these instances at the right time, but also insight into changing user behavior.
- How much credential sharing activity is happening among your subscribers?
- What is the impact of this activity to your business – both infrastructure costs and missed revenue opportunity?
- Does the activity threaten stability of your network infrastructure?
- How does unauthorized content viewing affect your content distribution agreements?
By combining data science with intelligent tools, you can answer these questions and more so that your business can take targeted actions.
Client Case Study
Our client’s situation:
A leading communications services provider wanted to understand the extent and impact of unauthorized credential sharing on its TV Everywhere platform.
Unauthorized password sharing behaviour was seen to be a growing issue for the company and for the industry as a whole.
Our client also wanted strategies to mitigate the extent of password sharing and estimate the financial opportunity of corresponding monetization initiatives.
How we approached the issue:
We engaged a team that combined skills from strategy, data analytics and technology solutions, and with a knowledge base across telecom, video, and content security to undertake the project.
Our first aim was to ensure our client could quickly grasp the company’s exposure to unauthorized credential sharing activity. We then developed strategies and systems for the company to use to combat fraudulent behavior.
What we did to help:
1. Developed a high-risk account identification methodology to identify high-risk accounts:
- Using our proprietary risk scoring methodology, we quantified credential sharing behavior and identified accounts for action
- We gave our client an overview of high-risk patterns
2. Built a credential sharing analytics tool to provide regular ongoing monitoring
- We created a series of customized dashboards available through a secure-web-based portal for monitoring usage
- Our client can now access key analysis and reporting at any time
3. Developed credential sharing mitigation strategies to create target mitigation actions
- We gave our client mitigation policy recommendations
- Our recommended policies included customer outreach, concurrency limits, device limits, and two-factor authentication
4. Evaluated opportunities to developed monetization strategies for consideration
- We created proactive marketing and upsell strategies
- Our plans leveraged usage behavior to identify and target specific customer segments
Our client’s new mitigation campaigns successfully reduced fraud activity by over 30% compared to the control group.
The communication services provider now has:
- a platform to monitor credential sharing behavior;
- a program to proactively identify risks and market developments;
- a set of new policies and mitigation strategies; and,
- marketing tactics to monetize opportunities.
Protect Your Streaming Video Content and Service
Cartesian has extensive experience working with major content distributors to identify and prevent unwanted credential sharing activity on their platforms.
Our service supports:
- Identification & Analysis of Credential Sharing Accounts:
- Analyze user behavior to quantify the extent of credential sharing and streaming video theft
- Ongoing Monitoring & Reporting:
- Monitor credential sharing behavior and trends over time
- Mitigation Policy & Strategy Development:
- Develop policies to prevent unwanted activity
- Convert credential borrowers into customers
Cartesian’s Streaming Video Credential Sharing Detection & Prevention Solution
We have the leading platform to screen streaming video usage data and identify accounts that are engaged in credential sharing or have been victims of credential theft.
Solution Platform Features
- Integrates with existing TV Everywhere and OTT platforms.
- Screens for all relevant credential sharing and theft patterns, leveraging proprietary and industry-leading clustering and geospatial dispersion algorithms.
- Provides lists of accounts that have been compromised and an ongoing platform-wide health check.
Gain quick understanding on the level of credential sharing behavior
Using our proprietary fraud scoring methodology, based on stream-level viewing patterns and geo-spatial clustering algorithms, we can rapidly quantify and understand the true extent of credential sharing behavior.
Reliably monitor potential credential sharing activity
Models developed are deployed on an operational basis and are used to regularly score accounts and take targeted effective actions on those clearly engaging in credential sharing activity.
Choose the response that works for your company
We work collaboratively with internal teams to A/B test and measure the impact of actions, before choosing which ones to implement as regular campaigns. Potential actions include both mitigation and upsell campaigns, dependent upon the nature of credential sharing activity identified on a platform.
Ensure a return on your investment
We provide regular operational reporting on both overall credential sharing activity and the impact of regular actions. This provides content distributors the ability to examine the revenue/cost impact of credential sharing management activity, in addition to demonstrating the success of proactive actions to content owners for audit purposes.