What a shock. After Netflix’s extended password-sharing crackdowns proved to be unfortunately successful, Disney+ has decided this is a good time to start a password-sharing crackdown of its own. Actually, we aren’t surprised. It seems like the new streaming playbook includes password-sharing limitations right alongside price increases and ad-supported tiers. Disney+ had previously indicated such a password-sharing crackdown was on the horizon earlier in the year. And now it looks like it’s finally arrived. Here’s what we know about Disney+’s password-sharing crackdown efforts so far.
Disney+ Will Start Its Password Sharing Crackdown This Summer
At an earnings call that took place in February 2024, Disney shared more details about its planned password-sharing crackdown for Disney+ users. According to The Verge, Disney’s Chief Financial Officer Hugh Johnston noted that Disney+ accounts “suspected of improper sharing” will be notified that different users will need to make different accounts. Disney+ will also follow in Netflix’s footsteps, allowing users to add people outside of their household to their accounts for an additional fee. That fee currently remains unknown.
In full, Johnston’s quote about Disney+’s password-sharing crackdown reads, “As it relates to the opportunity we see on paid sharing, beginning this summer, Disney Plus accounts suspected of improper sharing will be presented with new capabilities to allow their borrowers to start their own subscription… Later this calender year, account holders who want to allow access to individuals from outside their household and will be able to add them to their accounts for an additional fee.”
Johnston further noted, “Paid sharing is an opportunity for us,” Johnston added. “It’s one that our competitor is obviously taking advantage of, and one that sits in front of us … We’ve got some very specific actions that we’re taking in the next couple of months.” Doesn’t that just make your blood boil?
As mentioned in Johnston’s quote, the Disney+ password-sharing crackdown will arrive in the summer of 2024.
Disney+ Notifies Users of Password Sharing Crackdown
Disney+ first revealed its crackdown intentions in Canada late last year. According to The Verge, Disney+ sent an email to subscribers in Canada alerting them that password-sharing was on notice in September of 2023. The email noted, “We’re implementing restrictions on your ability to share your account or login credentials outside of your household.” Although Disney+ did not go too deeply into detail about what its password-sharing crackdown would look like, it feels like the streamer is emulating Netflix’s version. In fact, Disney+ even references the idea of “households,” a term Netflix created so it could enforce who could and could not use one Netflix account.
In the meanwhile, Disney has also given a similar notice to Hulu users in the United States.
Changes to Disney+’s User Agreement in Canada
In the case of Disney+, an updated Help Center page notes, “You may not share your subscription outside of your household.” Additionally, a new “account sharing” heading now appears in Candian subscribers’ user agreements. As shared by MobileSyrup, the section includes the following information:
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.
We may, in our sole discretion, analyze the use of your account to determine compliance with this Agreement. If we determine that you have violated this Agreement, we may limit or terminate access to the Service and/or take any other steps as permitted by this Agreement (including those set forth in Section 6 of this Agreement).
You will be responsible for any use of your account by your household, including compliance with this section.
It doesn’t seem all that likely that Disney+ would actually terminate a user for password-sharing, but now it can’t say it didn’t warn you.
When Will Disney+’s Password Sharing Crackdown Begin?
For most Canadian users, these changes in password-sharing policies went into effect on November 1. That corresponded with the launch of Disney+’s ad-supported tiers in Canada. While its not clear if Disney immediately moved to enforce the password policy, it is clearly making sure users know it intends to at some point.
As mentioned above, it looks like a wider password-sharing crackdown is coming to Disney+ in the summer of 2024. There is no word yet on how that will effect different regions or who will be hit first.
We guess we’ll see how seriously Disney+ will take this new initiative.
Originally published on September 28, 2023.