Disney looking to crack down on password sharing, following Netflix’s lead

“We are actively exploring ways to address account sharing and the best options for paying subscribers to share their accounts with friends and family.”

— Disney CEO Bob Iger

Pour another one out for streaming freeloaders.

Netflix Inc.

has been cracking down on account-sharing, and now Walt Disney Co.

is likely to follow suit.

Bob Iger, the media giant’s chief executive, said Wednesday that the company was “actively exploring” how to tackle the fact that many streaming subscribers on Disney+, Hulu and ESPN+ share passwords and accounts with loved ones.

“Later this year, we will begin to update our subscriber agreements with additional terms on our sharing policies, and we will roll out tactics to drive monetization sometime in 2024,” he said, according to a transcript provided by AlphaSense/Sentieo.

See also: Disney posts smaller streaming loss, will hike prices for Disney+ and Hulu

Whereas Netflix suggested that it could be housing 100 million global account borrowers, Iger declined to put a number on Disney’s own base of password sharers, “except to say that it’s significant.”

“What we don’t know, of course, is as we get to work on this, how much of the password-sharing, as we basically eliminate it, will convert to growth” in subscribers, he said. “Obviously, we believe there will be some, but we’re not speculating.”

Read: The long-simmering rumor of Apple buying Disney is resurfacing as Bob Iger looks to sell assets

The company plans to “get at this issue” next calendar year, and the initiative could have some impact on Disney’s business in that period.

“It’s possible that we won’t be complete or the work will not be completed within the calendar year, but we certainly have established this as a real priority, and we actually think that there’s an opportunity here to help us grow our business,” Iger continued.

Disney is making a big push to improve the financials of its streaming business, after spending the stay-home pandemic era focused on raw subscriber growth. Now the company is targeting streaming profitability by the end of fiscal 2024, and it just announced a new round of price hikes in pursuit of that goal.

Don’t miss: Disney is raising prices on Hulu and Disney+ again. Here’s how much you’ll soon pay.

“We grew this business really fast, really before we even understood what our pricing strategy should be or could be,” Iger commented. In the past six months, the company has started to pursue a pricing strategy “that’s really aimed at enabling us to improve the bottom line, ultimately to turn this into a growth business.”

Netflix is farther along in its efforts, and it’s won praise from Wall Street for them. Executives at the streaming giant indicated early success with Netflix’s broad password-sharing crackdown, though it will take time for the impact to fully manifest in the company’s financials.

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