Max Warns It May Terminate Accounts for Password Sharing

Remember when the words “password sharing crackdown” weren’t a part of our vocabulary as a meaningful phrase? If it seems like just yesterday, it’s because it was. We first heard the term almost exactly two years ago, when Netflix turned its eye on users sharing account passwords, and they transformed from a seemingly reasonable facet of streaming to a new source of income. And, of course, given Netflix’s success in converting their password-sharing crackdown into revenue, other streamers are warming to the idea. Disney+ and Hulu have announced users will no longer be able to share passwords sooner rather than later. And now, Max has also revealed a password-sharing crackdown of its own. Max’s password-sharing fight will begin this year and roll out in earnest in 2025.

daenerys smiles meanly on Game of Thrones, for Max password sharing crackdown article

Is enough not really enough? What will it be next, eye-tracking technology to ensure only paid users are gazing at the screen? We’ll just stop ourselves before we give streamers ideas. But password-sharing crackdowns certainly show no sign of slowing. Warner Bros. Discovery streaming and gaming chief J.B. Perrette discussed Max’s plans for their own password-related efforts at Morgan Stanley’s Technology, Media, and Telecom conference, which we saw via The Wrap.

Perrette noted that a Max password-sharing crackdown “initiative would launch later this year with a broader rollout in 2025.” And shared, “We think, relative to the scale of our business, it’s a meaningful opportunity.” And we bet that it is. But if that is the case, we have to imagine consumers are becoming tired of more and more corners being cut in exchange for higher and higher prices.

Our Flag Means Death with scared Stede Bonnet,  for Max password sharing crackdown article

Additionally, Max’s Terms of Service, last updated on February 27, currently include language on the potential consequences of password sharing. Max states that to limit account sharing, features may be disabled, or suspension and termination could occur. As we have opined below, suspending accounts for password-sharing does seem counter-productive because it would remove the user who is paying as well as the one who is not. But, we guess we’ll see what transpires. The exact language Max provides around password-sharing is below.

We can modify access or disable features, including for security reasons, to limit the impact of account sharing outside of your household or where we have concluded in our discretion that there has been misuse of your Max Account. If a suspension or termination occurs, you must stop using the Platform. If a Subscription Provider suspends or terminates your Subscription and/or access to all or any part of the Platform, you agree not to create another Max Account or try to access the Platform without permission and such Subscription Provider reserves the right to block any such attempted access to the Platform. 

Something like a password-sharing crackdown, however meaningful Max and others might find it to be in the moment, doesn’t actually seem like an avenue of sustainable growth. And why is it so imperative companies grow all the time, anyway? That’s one rhetorical question, for sure. In the meanwhile, we’re sure Max won’t be the last streamer to try to stop passwords from being shared. So we’ll strap in and see what happens.

Originally published on March 5, 2024.

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