To Boost Profits, Disney Cracks Down on Password Sharing

Fans of “The Bear” won’t be able to use a friend’s Hulu account to watch Season 3.

The Walt Disney Company, which owns Hulu, joined Netflix this week in banning password sharing in an effort to boost the company’s subscriber numbers and make its streaming services business profitable.

In an email to its subscribers on Wednesday, Hulu said it would start “adding limitations on sharing your account outside of your household,” beginning March 14.

The company added that it would analyze account use, and that it could suspend or terminate accounts that shared login details beyond their households.

On Jan. 25, Disney+, ESPN+ and Hulu, all services owned by Disney, updated their terms of service agreements to prohibit viewers from “using another person’s username, password or other account information” to access their content.

Disney, whose streaming catalog includes Star Wars, Pixar and Marvel movies, aims to turn a profit on its streaming services this year, according to earnings reports.

Disney’s chief executive, Bob Iger, foreshadowed the password crackdown in a third-quarter earnings call last August in which the company reported losses of $512 million on its three streaming services.

In the call, Mr. Iger said that the company believed there was a “significant” amount of password sharing among its users, and that a crackdown would result in some growth in subscriber numbers.

“We certainly have established this as a real priority,” he said. “And we actually think that there’s an opportunity here to help us grow our business.”

In its quest to push its streaming services business into the black, Disney took full control of Hulu, which was already profitable, in November.

On its password crackdown, Disney has taken a lead from Netflix, which last May announced that it would begin kicking people off its service if it detected use from a different I.P. address than the one registered with the subscription.

For households willing to pay for an additional person to have access to their account, Netflix said it would charge an extra $7.99 per person.

It was not immediately clear whether Hulu, Disney+ and ESPN+ subscribers would have an option to purchase additional account access.

Some Disney+ subscribers took to social media on Thursday to express confusion over the new rules.

“I wonder what this means if it’s actually me using my subscription at two different houses?” one person wrote on Reddit. “My mom watches my kid so I have my Disney+ on her TV. Is that not going to be allowed? I know it’s pretty much the same thing as sharing, but it’s literally me as I’m there and I turn it on, LOL.”

Disney did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Sumber: www.nytimes.com

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