Disney is set to enforce stricter controls on password sharing across its streaming platforms, a strategy mirroring that of its rival, Netflix. This change aims to curb unauthorized account sharing, potentially boosting subscriber numbers as users are compelled to create individual accounts.
A Shift in Streaming Service Policy
In a recent communication to Hulu subscribers, Disney revealed plans to introduce limitations on account sharing outside a subscriber's household. This change, effective from March 14, aligns with the company's efforts to tighten control over how its streaming services are accessed.
Hulu, along with Disney+ and ESPN+, has an explicit clause in its user agreement preventing impersonation or misuse of account information. The terms of the user agreement are clear: subscribers are prohibited from impersonating others or using someone else's account details.
This includes misrepresenting one’s identity or providing false information. The updated agreements for Disney+ and ESPN+ also reflect similar stipulations, although the exact date of these additions remains unclear.
Enforcing the New Rules
Disney's move to enforce these terms more strictly comes after CEO Bob Iger emphasized the importance of addressing password sharing.
Speaking in August last year, Iger indicated that combating account sharing was a high priority for Disney. This strategy is seen as a potential growth driver for the company’s streaming services. The user agreements state that Disney may monitor user accounts to ensure compliance with these rules.
Non-compliance could lead to restrictions or termination of the accounts in question. With Iger expected to speak on Disney’s fiscal first-quarter earnings call on February 7, more details about the company's approach to handling password sharing are anticipated.
This step follows the successful implementation of a similar policy by Netflix. Netflix's crackdown on password sharing has resulted in a significant increase in subscriber numbers, as users previously sharing passwords have transitioned to creating their own accounts.
This strategy has proven effective, with Netflix announcing a record number of subscribers in its fourth quarter. Disney's decision to implement stricter controls on password sharing reflects a broader trend in the streaming industry to protect content and maximize revenue.
As streaming services continue to evolve, these measures indicate a growing emphasis on individual subscriptions over shared access.