It’s no secret that many people like to share a Netflix account rather than pay for their own. However, Netflix account sharing may come to an end thanks to a new AI-powered app introduced at CES 2019. The app uses an artificial intelligence algorithm to identify accounts which share credentials and flag them.
The company behind this invention is Synmedia, a software development company. Their new software, called Synmedia Credentials Sharing Insight, effectively tracks users who share their Netflix account information with others. Of course, this practice benefits end users, but companies lose revenue when accounts are shared among multiple users.
A streaming service such as Netflix can buy access to Synamedia’s application, which will then deploy artificial intelligence to detect Netflix account sharing. When searching, the app will consider a wide range of factors. For example, it will analyze the locations from which the account are accessed and how far away they are from each other. It will also consider the type of content being watched, the variety of movie and TV genres and other factors, like the times of day the service being used. Comparing such sets of data could help the algorithm find out which accounts to flag.
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“A typical pattern would be you have a subscriber that is simultaneously watching content on the East Coast and West Coast of the U.S.,” Synamedia Chief Product Officer Jean-Marc Racine told The Verge. “That’s unlikely to be the same person.”
To address the problem, Netflix tried to limit the number of active screens allowed in each subscription plan. However, that doesn’t prevent five people in different parts of the country from sharing two or three screens.
“Casual credentials sharing is becoming too expensive to ignore. Our new solution gives operators the ability to take action,” Synamedia Racine said in a statement before CES. “Many casual users will be happy to pay an additional fee for a premium, shared service with a greater number of concurrent users. It’s a great way to keep honest people honest while benefiting from an incremental revenue stream.”
Detecting Netflix account sharing probably won’t be the only use for Synmedia’s app because access to it can be purchased by other online video streaming services. The companies can use it to search for irregular activity on their users’ accounts and flag them if they find any activities to be suspicious.
Even though the app already promises a lot, it’s still unclear how accurate the tool will be. Given that the app uses a machine learning algorithm, it will be analyzing vast amounts of data to make the right decisions. One thing is for sure. If Netflix does adopt the new app, there will be a lot of unhappy customers with their accounts flagged.