Like Netflix, Disney+ is getting more stringent about sharing account login information. Disney+’s subscriber agreement already says users can’t share account information, but the streaming service on Tuesday informed its Canadian users that it is “implementing restrictions on account sharing.”
As spotted by MobileSyrup Wednesday, Disney+ emailed Canadian subscribers informing them of updates to the subscriber agreement as of November 1, including the addition of an “account sharing” section. Although the rules seem to be launching with Canada first, it’s likely they’ll eventually roll out to other geographies, like the US. Netflix initially tested its password-sharing crackdown in other countries before bringing it to the US.
MobileSyrup reported the update to Disney+’s Canadian agreement as saying;
Unless otherwise permitted by your Service Tier, you may not share your subscription outside of your household. “Household” means the collection of devices associated with your primary personal residence that are used by the individuals who reside therein. Additional usage rules may apply for certain Service Tiers.
Disney+ reportedly goes on to say that it may opt to analyze subscriber accounts to ensure they’re being compliant. Enforcement can include cutting off access to Disney+.
During Disney’s Q3 2023 earnings call in August, CEO Bob Iger pointed to “significant” password sharing among its streaming services, which also includes two-thirds ownership of Hulu, while declining to provide an exact number. At the time, Iger said Disney had the “technical capability” to monitor password sharing. He added that the company believed the move would result in some new subscribers but was unsure of how many. It’s possible that anti-account-sharing rules could trickle over to Hulu, too.
As revealed in Disney’s Q3 2023 earnings report, Disney+ lost 11.7 million subscribers during the quarter, (largely due to losing the rights to the Indian Premier League cricket tournament). Disney’s overall streaming services losses were $512 million that quarter, which is a decrease from $1.06 billion in Q3 2022.
Netflix enacted its own password crackdown in the US in May. It now charges US users $8 for every user outside of the household by using information like IP addresses, device IDs, and account activity. In August, Netflix said that its annealing on account sharing has helped drive revenue and more new subscriptions than cancellations. Unlike Disney+, Netflix’s new rules came after years of account-sharing leniency. Disney+ launched in November 2019, and Disney’s total streaming losses since then have surpassed $11 billion, The New York Times reported in August.
But as streaming services battle for more subscribers, viewers are challenged by streaming services cutting content budgets and raising prices. Like rivals, Disney is set to introduce an ad-supported tier in an attempt to increase subscribers, as well.
However, with Disney slashing content spend by $3 billion over the next few years, it may have to do better than sell ads and surveil password sharing to increase interest in its streaming services.