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Disney Begins Crackdown on Streaming Password Sharing Media Play News

February 1, 2024

Disney has informed Disney+, Hulu and ESPN+ subscribers that it will begin monitoring accounts to see if they are being illegally used by unauthorized users outside a subscriber’s household.

In a Jan. 31 email, Hulu said it had made “updates” to its “Subscriber Agreement,” effective Jan. 25 for new subscribers, and March 14 for current and existing subs.

“Unless otherwise permitted…you may not share your subscription outside of your household,” read the updated agreement, which stipulates that password sharing can only occur among a collection of devices associated with a subscriber’s primary personal residence that are used by the individuals who reside therein.

“We may, in our sole discretion, analyze the use of your account to determine compliance with this agreement,” read the updated rules.

Hulu said that if it feels a subscriber has violated the agreement, it may at its “sole discretion” terminate access to the service and/or take any other steps as permitted by the revised agreement.

“You will be responsible for any use of your account by your household, including compliance with this section,” read the agreement.

During the last fiscal call, Disney CEO Bob Iger said the company would begin altering subscriber rights in an effort to mine incremental revenue from unauthorized users.

“We certainly have established this as a real priority,” Iger said. “And we actually think that there’s an opportunity here to help us grow our business.”

The move borrows from rival Netflix, which last year began cracking down on what it claimed were about 100 million shared user accounts. The result has been an increase in paid subscribers, including 13.1 million new net subs in the most-recent fiscal period. A majority of new subs are opting for the less-expensive $6.99 ad-supported plan.

Netflix also allows existing password-sharing users to remain on the account for an additional $7.99 monthly fee.

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Erik Gruenwedel

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