A hot potato: Disney Plus is now introducing measures to stop US subscribers from sharing their accounts with friends and family, after anticipating the implementation last year. The company is following in the footsteps of Netflix, which stopped free password sharing in 2022 after previously saying it encouraged the practice.
Disney Plus started sending out the bad news in customer emails yesterday, writes The Verge. The messages highlight changes to the company’s terms of service that will make it more difficult for people to log into accounts using credentials that aren’t theirs.
Disney said that it can “analyze the use of your account” to determine that people are complying with the new rules, though it doesn’t go into further detail about how it will detect sharers. Credentials can only be shared with and used by people within one household, which is defined as a single geographical residence.
The news comes days after Disney-owned Hulu confirmed it was also cracking down on password sharing. Like Hulu, Disney Plus says it reserves the right to limit or terminate someone’s account if they’re caught breaking the rules.
Another area where Disney Plus’ password-sharing crackdown is mimicking Hulu’s is the date it will be implemented. The rules are already in place for current subscribers, while current customers have until March 14 to stop others from using their passwords, lest they risk the consequences. There doesn’t appear to be any Netflix-style option of paying extra to add non-household members to an account, either.
Disney, of course, wants those people using others’ passwords to start subscribing to Disney Plus. And while there will be plenty of customers who leave the service as a result of the new ToS, there will be plenty of new subs to take their place; Netflix gained more new subscribers in the four days immediately following the start of its password-sharing crackdown in the US than in any similar period since 2019.
How things have changed
Video streaming seems to have fallen a long way since its golden age of cheap subscriptions for ad-free content and companies that actually encouraged password sharing. Subscription prices have skyrocketed in the last few years, password-sharing is being banned, and Amazon has introduced ads to Prime for those unwilling to pay extra.