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If you’re stealing Netflix, you’re probably a postmillennial

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A recent report from CNBC noted that the popularity of streaming content has led to a trend: America’s youth are using those services without paying for them.

Kids who go off to college often maintain cellphone service or health insurance through their parents’ plans. Taking a page from that book, a lot of America’s youth — namely millennials (those between the ages of 22 and 37) and postmillennials (those 21 and younger) — also aren’t feeling the need to get their own subscriptions to streaming services. And they are the most likely to share a login with friends, or even casual acquaintances.

Not long ago, the CEO of Netflix dismissed this as a problem that wasn’t in need of fixing; but CNBC and researchers from media watcher Magid noted that as these sharing-economy pirates get older, they’ll carry with them that value proposition — a clear shift from earlier generations.

The psychology is basic risk-versus-reward dynamics. If you’re getting something for free without risking anything, there’s no upside to paying $10 or more a month. But the downside continues to grow for companies investing in streaming content, and it won’t be something that can be ignored forever.

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