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Hulu and Disney Plus in Netflix-style crackdown


The show is over – again. Just as Netflix did last year, Disney Plus and its subsidiary platform Hulu will now begin to restrict password sharing.

Netflix’s move to ban the practice worldwide, combined with the introduction of a cheaper ad-based tier, angered many – but proved to be a financial success for the king of streamers.

This has now opened the door for the concept to spread across the industry – so good luck trying to keep rising streaming costs down, as Disney Plus and Hulu get in on the crackdown action.

To be fair, Disney Plus announced in September 2023 that the streaming service would ban password sharing in the near future. But the streamer never set an official date for the change, and the crackdown hasn’t started so far.

Now, Hulu seems poised to follow suit, sending an email to users that the change was coming to their accounts.

“Unless otherwise permitted by your Service Tier, you may not share your subscription outside of your household. ‘Household’ means the collection of devices associated with your primary personal residence that are used by the individuals who reside therein,” says the email, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

The new agreement was dated January 25th, and says the terms will become effective on March 14th. The new order will also apply to ESPN+, another streamer owned by Disney.

When Netflix started the practice, it implemented a home Wi-Fi-based solution that prevented devices not signed in during the past month from accessing the service. What that translates to in layman’s terms: if you share a password within your family, and you all live in the same house and use the same devices on a regular basis, you should be fine.

Netflix has now reported two consecutive quarters with big subscriber growth (22 million combined) and attributed this to its password-sharing crackdown and introduction of the ad-based tier.

Small wonder then, that rivals are trying to pursue similar strategies.

Disney desperately needs to turn a profit on its streaming services in 2024. The company’s CEO Bob Iger said last August in a third-quarter earning call that Disney Plus, Hulu, and ESPN+ reported losses of $512 million between them.

The problem is that Disney is not Netflix, which appears to have decisively won the streaming wars as other companies are dropping earlier resistance and allowing their original content to be streamed on the latter platform.

Streaming services have long used their intellectual property as a carrot for new subscribers, requiring a subscription in order to watch a desired show.

But now it appears that Disney is nearing a licensing agreement with Netflix and will send at least 14 different series – from ABC, Fox, FX, and even ESPN – to the streaming giant over the next year and a half.


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