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May 5th, 2020

Limit Password Sharing of Protected Online Content with IP Geolocation Data

We are working in a world none of us anticipated, and doing our best to navigate it. In this series of blog posts, our experts explain how Neustar solutions and data services can help your business adapt to the changing challenges we face together.

With the unprecedented suspension of group gatherings to limit the spread of the coronavirus, there’s really one place left for people to go for entertainment and for professional events.


For over-the-top (OTT) streaming media and other online entertainment providers, the pandemic is resulting in a significant increase in subscriptions as homebound families search for new ways to entertain themselves. Netflix, for example, has seen nearly 16 million people sign up in the first quarter of 2020, more than double the company's own guidance, which was given before the crisis hit in January. As of March 31, the streaming service had 182.9 million paid subscribers globally and it expects to reach 190 million by the end of June.

Organizers and sponsors of industry meetings and trade events, meanwhile, are reinventing the ways they allow people to come together and share ideas, by offering or expanding paid online access to virtual events and meetings.

Unfortunately, both will also likely see a large increase in attempts to avoid payment through password sharing.

It’s already a huge problem for OTT providers, costing the industry an estimated $9.1 billion in 2019 alone. With both more subscriptions and tougher economic times due to the pandemic, these losses will only increase. While event organizers aren’t facing losses in the billions, they are still subject to lost revenues through password sharing.

Yet many providers have been slow to address the issue, partly because of uncertainty about tools that can reliably identify potential password sharing, and the conflicting concerns that arise as a result:

  • On the one hand, an interest in reducing losses by identifying and addressing password sharing
  • On the other, concern over alienating or blocking good customers through false positives

Your IT team can help – with a data-driven solution that addresses both concerns. IP decisioning data such as Neustar UltraGeoPoint helps to identify likely instances of password sharing without turning off legitimate subscribers.

UltraGeoPoint data provides information about a device’s geographic location based on its IP address, so you can identify where users are when they log in. Tracking that information over time allows you to uncover accounts that regularly log in from multiple, geographically separate locations – a strong indication of potential password sharing.

Because UltraGeoPoint is an authoritative global source for IP decisioning data, covering both IPv4 and IPv6 addresses, you can be confident in the results. It also identifies whether a device is connecting to the internet through an anonymous proxy, which could indicate a deliberate effort to hide password sharing. Importantly, all UltraGeoPoint data is fully compliant with global privacy regulations.

For a more detailed discussion of reducing losses from password sharing without compromising valuable customer relationships, check out this article by Neustar’s Jackie Wadhwa, an IP geolocation data specialist.

And if you’re interested in learning more about using UltraGeoPoint data to limit password sharing and our global coverage, email us at security@team.neustar, or give us a call at 1-855-898-0036 in the U.S. or +44 1784 448444 in the UK.

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