*The following is excerpted from an online article posted on Recode.
Netflix says it has at least 139 million paid subscribers around the world. But there are decent odds that many more people are watching Netflix and letting someone else pay for it.
A new survey from analysts MoffettNathanson finds that 14 percent of U.S. Netflix users admit that they’re watching the service using an account paid for by someone they don’t live with. That is, they’re watching Netflix even though they’re not technically supposed to be watching Netflix.
As analyst Michael Nathanson points out, Netflix (which has not gone out of its way — at all — to stop password sharers) can view this as a half-empty/half-full situation.
On the plus side, he figures Netflix non-payers currently represent some 8 million users who could eventually be persuaded to pay for Netflix content. On the other hand, if those non-payers never end up paying, they end up reducing Netflix’s growth prospects.