Disney Plus’ Password Sharing Crackdown Begins Soon

Mike Powers

We now have a clearer idea of when the Disney Plus password-sharing crackdown will begin. Speaking with CNBC, CEO Bob Iger said Disney will be “launching our first real foray into password sharing” in June, first bringing the clampdown to “just a few countries and a few markets, but then it will grow significantly with a full rollout in September.”

During Disney’s first-quarter earnings call in February, the company announced plans to enforce new account-sharing policies by implementing a fee for Disney Plus streaming customers later this year. The move continues a trend kicked off by Netflix and came after the media giant updated its subscriber agreements for Disney Plus, Hulu and ESPN Plus.

“Beginning this summer, Disney Plus accounts suspected of improper sharing will be presented with new capabilities to allow their borrowers to start their own subscriptions,” CFO Hugh Johnston said during the earnings call. “Later this calendar year, account holders who want to allow access to individuals from outside their household will be able to add them to their accounts for an additional fee.”

Subscribers received emails that detailed changes to user agreements for each platform. Subscribers may not share their accounts with anyone outside their primary household residence, unless it’s permitted for their tier, according to Disney’s terms. The agreement says the company may check for compliance by reviewing your usage habits and choosing to “limit or terminate access.” The policy went into effect on Jan. 25 for new users and March 14 for existing customers.

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Iger first shared plans to address account sharing in August, saying it would be a priority in 2024 for its global subscriber base. He added that the move would support the company’s efforts to increase monetization in the new year. Disney began its crackdown in Canada first and unveiled new rules in November.

By comparison, Netflix charges $8 for each “extra member” subaccount, with limits on how many people can be added to a Premium or Standard subscription. Though the streamer experienced early backlash about the change, it helped drive its subscriber numbers up. Some former password borrowers signed up for their own accounts — such as its $7 ad-based plan.  

Disney is evolving its streaming business in other ways. The company fully launched its Hulu on Disney Plus single-app option last week and in February announced a joint venture with Warner Bros. Discovery and Fox to create a new sports streaming service. 

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