Disney Emulates Netflix: Tightening Grip on Password Sharing

  • Disney plans crackdown on password sharing, following Netflix's lead, aiming to curb significant unauthorized account access.
  • CEO Bob Iger reveals technical capability to monitor sharing, anticipates growth in subscribers post-restriction implementation.
  • New sharing terms to be announced by year-end, tactics for monetization rollout expected in 2024, aligning with streaming trends.

In a move that mirrors the steps taken by its streaming counterpart Netflix, Disney has announced its intention to clamp down on rampant password sharing among its subscribers. The entertainment conglomerate’s CEO, Bob Iger, recently shed light on this upcoming initiative during Disney’s Q2 2023 earnings call.

Addressing the issue head-on, Iger stated that the extent of password sharing on Disney+ had reached “significant” levels. While specifics were withheld, Iger emphasized that the company already possesses the technological means to monitor a substantial portion of this unauthorized account sharing. This revelation comes amid mounting concerns over the financial implications of such widespread password sharing.

“We already have the technical capability to monitor much of this [password sharing]. And I’m not going to give you a specific number, except to say that it’s significant,” Iger declared. He went on to express the company’s anticipation of a subsequent rise in subscriber numbers as a result of this crackdown, albeit without venturing into speculative territory.

Charting the Course: Disney’s Password Sharing Crackdown Timeline

Announcement of IntentEnd of 2023
Update Subscriber Agreements with New TermsLater in 2023
Rollout of Monetization Tactics2024

The impending move places Disney in alignment with its industry counterpart, Netflix. The streaming behemoth embarked on its own password-sharing crackdown journey last year, initially testing the waters in select countries. The initiative was subsequently expanded to encompass regions including Canada, New Zealand, Portugal, and Spain. Earlier this year, Netflix began urging users to desist from sharing accounts outside of their households, and instead opt for distinct subscriptions.

This approach is indicative of the broader challenges faced by streaming giants as they grapple with stymied subscriber growth compounded by economic uncertainties. In response, both Disney and Netflix are exploring multifaceted strategies to not only augment revenue streams but also attract new subscribers. Besides password-sharing restrictions, these companies are contemplating tactics like price adjustments and the introduction of cost-effective ad-supported subscription tiers.

Disney’s forthcoming significant hikes in streaming subscription fees, slated for later this year, further underscore the company’s commitment to upholding and enhancing its streaming offerings in a rapidly evolving market.

The implementation of password-sharing curbs assumes significance against the backdrop of an ever-evolving streaming landscape. Disney’s decision to follow Netflix’s lead will likely shape the trajectory of subscription-based entertainment services, serving as a bellwether for other industry players.

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