Disney is clamping down on password sharing


Add Disney to the list of streaming services that are no longer turning a blind eye to users sharing their passwords with friends and family.

Subscribers to Hulu have received an email saying that effective March 14, the company plans to add “limitations on sharing your account outside of your household”.

The terms of agreement on the site, as well as on Disney+ and ESPN+ have also been updated to read users “agree not to impersonate or misrepresent your affiliation with any person or entity, including using another person’s username, password or other account information, or another person’s name or likeness, or provide false details for a parent or guardian.”

Disney fired a warning shot that it would not tolerate password sharing last August. In an earnings call with analysts, CEO Bob Iger said the issue was “a real priority”.

The move follows Netflix’s decision to put an end to password sharing last year.

Password sharing has become a problem for all streaming services and could cost the industry up to $25 billion a year, according to a Citibank report. Netflix said in 2022 that more than 100 million households are using accounts paid for by other people.

It’s unclear how many Disney+, Hulu or ESPN+ households are sharing their passwords.

Netflix’s success, and subsequent boost in sign-ups, has resonated with other streaming services. Observers initially wondered if the move would result in a user revolt, since Netflix initially winked at password sharing and was more interested in viewer numbers. The company even encouraged users to share in a 2017 Tweet.

Disney’s streaming business lost $387 million in its fourth fiscal quarter. That’s still considerably better than the previous year, when it saw losses of $1.4 billion. Iger has focused on the streaming service amid recent cost-cutting efforts.

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