Is Disney+ the Next Streaming Service To Crack Down on Password Sharing?





Netflix has laid out the roadmap for how to stamp out password sharing. Reports that Disney is experimenting with something similar in one of its markets suggest its Disney Plus service could be next.

Disney’s India streaming service, called Disney Plus Hotstar, will start limiting its premium users to only four devices, with its cheaper plan limited to just two devices, according to Reuters, which cited unnamed sources. While the official launch isn’t happening until later this year, it’s already starting in trials, Reuters reported.

A Disney spokesman wasn’t available to comment on the story.

A change in one market doesn’t necessarily mean it’ll ripple through, but the fact that it’s happening signals this is an area of consideration for Disney.

That this is even a possibility is largely due to Netflix, which opened the door to cracking down on password sharing with its own program earlier this year. Rather than a backlash, it led to an increase in subscribers as households added lines or started new accounts.

Disney Plus could use the win. The company’s direct-to-consumer business, which includes Disney Plus and Disney Plus Hotstar, posted an operating loss of $700,000 in the second quarter, only slightly narrower than a year ago. At the same time, subscriber growth rose just slightly, a marked slowdown from the stratospheric growth it saw in the early days.

The Disney Plus Hotstar service has a total of 52.9 million subscribers across all of the different regions, although it lost customers in the second quarter. And while its core Disney Plus itself has an average revenue per user of $6.47, the average revenue is only 59 cents for Disney Plus Hotstar.

Disney could try to goose signups by cracking down on password sharing. But Netflix is an established brand with loads of loyalty, making it an essential service for many households. Disney Plus, which has seen enthusiasm wane for even its marquee projects from Marvel and Disney, may test its customers’ tolerance to spend more in this environment.

For instance, Marvel’s Secret Invasion drew a lot of critical backlash for its flat ending, even as hype builds for Loki’s second season.

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