Disney might become the second company to execute a password-sharing crackdown. Netflix has been doing it since the beginning of the year – and quite successfully, too.
Disney chief executive Bob Iger said during an earnings call on Wednesday that the company is “actively exploring ways to address account sharing.”
According to Iger, Disney “will begin to update our subscriber agreements with additional terms and our sharing policies” later this year and will also “roll out tactics to drive monetization” in 2024.
This can only mean a crackdown on password sharing on Disney+, the company’s streaming platform, and other services, industry experts say. Netflix is already charging users an extra fee to share their accounts with someone outside their household.
Surprisingly, even though many Netflix users threatened to cancel their memberships, the move seems to have worked. The streaming giant saw a massive jump in new subscriptions right after it started applying the new rules in the US, its largest market.
Prior to the crackdown, Netflix estimated that more than 100 million households worldwide shared an account.
Iger didn’t say how many users were doing the same across Disney’s services but added that the number was “significant.” He also said that the company has the “technical capability” to monitor sign-ins and that the company plans to “get at this issue” in 2024.
Disney has been seeing a considerable decline in subscriptions lately, which might explain the move to squeeze more money from subscribers.
Disney+ subscriptions fell from 157.8 million worldwide to 146.1 million in the second quarter. This is a loss of 11.7 million, more than doubling last quarter’s record decline, and it includes a decrease of 300,000 in the U.S. and Canada where subscribers fell to 46 million.
The bulk of the subscription losses came in India, though, where Disney+ Hotstar dropped by 24%, going from 52.9 million to 40.4 million.
However, this drop was expected as Disney lost the rights to a critical cricket league in India, the Indian Premier League. Viacom18, a joint venture of Viacom and India’s Reliance Industries, picked up those rights for a hefty $2.6 billion.
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