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Heads up, binge-watchers: Disney+ next in line to crack down on password sharing

By JUSTINE PUNZALAN Published Aug 10, 2023 3:58 pm

Netflix isn't the only streaming giant serious about kicking freeloaders off their subscribers' accounts. There's also Disney+, which recently announced that it is eyeing to crack down on password-sharing beginning 2024.

Disney CEO Bob Iger broke the news that a password-sharing crackdown is somewhere in its (near) future in an earnings call on Wednesday (Eastern Standard Time). Similar to Netflix, Disney's move is part of its plans to mitigate financial losses since it launched its streaming service in November 2019.

"We are actively exploring ways to address account sharing and the best options for paying subscribers to share their accounts with friends and family," Iger explained "Later this year, we will begin to update our subscriber agreements with additional terms and our sharing policies. And we will roll out tactics to drive monetization sometime in 2024."

During the call, Disney said it recorded a weighty streaming loss of $512 million in its fiscal third quarter. According to a CNBC report, the number of Disney+ subscribers in the US and Canada fell by 1% for the second quarter in a row. International subscribers, on the other hand, increased by 2% in the quarter.

While Iger did not reveal exactly how many people are sharing accounts on Disney+, The Verge quoted the CEO as saying it's "significant." The number is determined by their system's "technical ability" to detect logins made on the app. 

The California-based conglomerate is resolute that the password-sharing crackdown can turn the business around as, according to Iger, it is "a real priority." 

However, Disney assures that it will implement the change gradually. Iger said, "While it is likely you’ll see some impact in calendar 24, it’s possible that... the work will not be completed within the calendar year."

Netflix, meanwhile, announced its password-sharing crackdown in a letter sent to shareholders in October 2022. It was initially rolled out in Latin America, then Canada, New Zealand, Portugal, and Spain early this year. It expanded worldwide in May.

What binge-watchers should instead keep a close eye on is the price increase across Disney's streaming offerings abroad. Beginning Oct. 12, a Disney+ premium subscription will cost $13 from $10.99 per month, while Hulu premium subscribers would have to pay a monthly fee of $17.99 from $14.99.

Disney+ Philippines' PR agency confirmed to PhilSTAR L!fe that the price increase will not affect local subscribers as the streaming service is using a different pricing model from what is being carried out abroad.