Hipster Cable: Would You Share Your NetFlix Password?

Brent Pittman —  07/01/2013
Hipster Cable

What is Hipster cable? Photo Credit: chantel beam photography via Compfight cc

Do you still own a TV? I haven’t owned one in a while and it seems like the trend to owning a T.V. and paying for traditional cable are going the way of the gas powered car.

There is a new breed of media watchers who consume their media through Netflix, Hulu Plus, HBO Mobile ???.

Many of them don’t even pay for it. It’s called Hipster Cable.

What is Hipster Cable?

The term hipster is now used for any young urban person who dresses cool and thinks differently (doesn’t every generation do that?)

Hipster cable is way to consume media without paying for it directly–yet you might exchange an intangible currency.

An example of hipster cable:

If you give me your Hulu plus password, I’ll share my NetFlix longin with you.


Now, multiply that scenario across a whole hipster generation and you’ve got hundreds of thousands, if not millions of free loading Arrested Development binge watchers.

Hipster Cable: Ethically Wrong or Savvy Consumers?

So this begs the question, is sharing your password to these online services ethically wrong or does it just show a smart frugalness by the consumer?

Have you ever shared your Hulu Plus login or borrowed your brother in law’s HBO account to catch up on an episode of Thrones?

What constitutes “family” in family plan? Does a “household” include your roommate’s friend sleeping on the couch?

I’m sure advertisers don’t mind more eyeballs viewing their ads, yet shareholders could have concerns their product is being viewed for “free”.

Netflix and others could crackdown on sharing, yet at what cost? Do you really want to anger your viewing base–even if they are viewing for free?

Hipster Cable: Final Thoughts

I believe all artists deserve their dues and even those involved in making a production from mixers and composers to those chopping film minutes before the release deadline.

When you engage in hipster cable, you’re not just stealing from Netflix, Amazon Prime, or HBO, you’re also stealing from all those involved in making a production–especially those who earn royalties.

Pony up the money if you want to watch a show, or if you’re cheap–crash your buddies house when it’s time to watch the next Game of Thrones.

Great movies and shows are more fun to watch in community.

What are your thoughts on Hipster Cable?

Also read: Budget Like a Hipster

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Brent Pittman

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Brent is a financial coach and writer looking for the perfect donut. He believes personal finance should be both fun and accessible to anyone willing to learn.
  • Tie the Money Knot

    Interesting topic! Hard to imagine that I haven’t thought of this as a topic, I’m surprised at myself 🙂 Anyway, it’s interesting and I’m guessing many people do this, but I wouldn’t feel right about it. I wonder how user agreements are structured, and how much companies financially model for this to happen. Regardless, at this point I wouldn’t try it as a consumer.

  • AvgJoeMoney

    This is so, so wrong. I love it when these cheats complain about companies tightening the reins later….when did we expect to get something for nothing? It’s the American way….

  • John S @ Frugal Rules

    We actually have family members that do this with Netflix and I just don’t get it. Is $10 or so a month REALLY that expensive? This is also not to mention the ethical issues. In my opinion it’s pure theft.

  • Your Daily Finance

    We use Redbox and Netflix. Some would see it as stealing I’m not sure I would call it that. Its set up for you to use on different tv’s or computers. If you want to pay and share i think its up to you. If I rent a movie from Redbox view and give it to my neighbor before returning it is that stealing?

  • Is this any different than borrowing your neighbor’s lawnmower? I don’t really think anyone would consider that to be stealing from the lawnmower company.

  • I didn’t even know about this, yet it doesn’t surprise me. I wouldn’t do it, but it is kind of stealing.

  • krantcents

    I guess I am too old to be considered hip! Besides, I don’t have either of these services. My wife and I still go to the movie theater once every other month. We use discount (50%) tickets.

    • We stick with Redbox mostly or a $2 theater nearby.

  • Well, our roommate saved her Netflix password on our Smart TV, and, when I had a trial of Amazon Prime, I did the same with Amazon Instant Video.
    I would think that trying to crack down on such practices would be a slippery slope. What would be next? Saying you can’t invite friends over to watch tv with you? We used to all get together at a friends house to watch True Blood. Not only did she have the biggest tv at the time, but it saved the rest of us from having to buy HBO subscriptions for 3 months out of the year.

    • I think it would be fairly easy technologically to stop the multi-users since they probably track the IP address or use cookies.