It appears the era of sharing passwords to access Walt Disney services is coming to an end. Disney+ began emailing customers this morning alerting them of new policies related to sharing.
The language is identical to what users of sister service Hulu received last week, noting that the service is adding limitations on sharing outside of the household, and detailing how it will assess your account to determine if you’re violating its policy. The subscriber agreement itself contains more detail about these new terms including how it will be able analyze your account to see if other people outside of the household are using it.
Ominously, the terms give Disney the right to limit or “terminate” your access at its sole discretion.
Disney is followinga similar crackdown that Netflix rolled out to many of its subscribers last year. It came after years of the company letting users share without consequence, with the belief that the larger overall audience would be good for its content. But with streaming services tightening their belts and looking to turn a profit on these services, these crackdowns are likely to happen more frequently.
With Netflix’s crackdown actually yielding new customers who signed up after getting booted from the service, Disney is hoping to replicate some of this success.
The policy update to Hulu and Disney was a bit of a surprise given CEO Bob Iger had said the company had pushed back its plans to roll out its crackdown.
“There’s no meaningful impact until 2025,” Iger said on a conference call with investors in November to discuss its fiscal fourth-quarter results.
The company had declined to comment when Hulu issued its policy update, and instead pointed to Iger’s comments. So perhaps this update keeps the door open for a crackdown, even if the hammer hasn’t quite fallen yet.