TDG: ‘Cord Cheating’ Common among US Subscription Streamers


TDG: ‘Cord Cheating’ Common among US Subscription Streamers
Almost One-Fifth of Subscription Streamers Use Credentials of
Someone Living Outside Their Household

March 11, 2015 (Plano, TX)

According to new research from The Diffusion Group (TDG), more than 20% of adult broadband users that stream video from an online subscription service are ‘cord cheaters,’ consumers who access these services using the account name and password of someone that does not reside in the same household.


“While it is widely acknowledged that ‘cord cheating’ is occurring, few comprehend how widespread the behavior has become,” noted Michael Greeson, TDG Founder and Director of Research.

According to a TDG’s latest research, a sizable segment of online subscription video viewers live in households that are not paying to enjoy on-demand access to movies, TV programs, and a host of other high-value video content. Content providers are losing substantial revenue by not enforcing more restrictive authentication procedures.

Importantly, the rate of ‘cord cheating’ varies dramatically among OTT SVOD services. For example, 20% of Netflix streamers are guilty of using non-resident credentials, compared with only 10% of Amazon Prime streamers. Even DISH’s new Sling TV service is not immune to this behavior, with an astounding 26% of viewers reporting that they use the credentials of someone living outside their primary residence.

“This behavior reflects the unfortunate mindset among many of today’s media users that it’s perfectly acceptable to ‘share’ digital media — whether files or service access — among friends and family,” notes Greeson. “Why should my daughter pay to stream Netflix when she can simply use my credentials to access the service with little fear of reprisal?”

‘Cord cheating’ is but one of the important consumer behaviors profiled in TDG’s new primary research project, Benchmarking the Connected Consumer. To learn more about this and other TDG primary research projects, please contact or 469-287-8050.

Wendy Stockard

About TDG Research
TDG provides actionable intelligence on the quantum market shifts impacting consumer technology and media behavior. Since 2004, our market research and advisory services have helped technology vendors, media companies, and service providers understand how consumers access, navigate, distribute, and consume broadband media — whenever and wherever they may be. For more information, visit our website at

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