Disney+ plans password sharing crackdown as subscribers dwindle

10 Aug 2023

Image: © monticellllo/Stock.adobe.com

Revenue was up 4pc in its last quarter, but Disney+ CEO Bob Iger is planning ‘tactics to drive monetisation’ in 2024.

Disney+ is the latest major streaming service to crack down on password sharing as CEO Bob Iger says he considers the move to be a “real priority”.

In the company’s latest earnings call yesterday (9 August), Iger said the company is “actively exploring ways to address account sharing” on Disney+ and that subscriber agreements and sharing policies will begin to get updates later this year.

The company will also “roll out tactics to drive monetisation” starting next year, in a blow to what he calls a “significant” number of users sharing passwords across Disney services.

“While it is likely you’ll see some impact in calendar [year] ’24, it’s possible that … the work will not be completed within the calendar year,” Iger said. “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.”

Competitor Netflix first started its own password sharing crackdown last October, with the roll-out reaching Irish customers earlier this year.

The news of a Disney+ crackdown comes as the streaming giant announced its ad-supported offering will be rolled out in select markets across Europe and Canada starting 1 November. The offering was launched in the US last year.

Meanwhile, US subscribers will have access to a new ad-free bundled subscription plan, starting 6 September, featuring Disney+ Premium and Hulu for $19.99 per month.

“The strong momentum of our ad-supported plans in the US demonstrates the importance of providing consumers with choice, flexibility and value,” said Joe Earley, president of direct-to-consumer at Disney Entertainment.

“We are excited to expand that offering in more markets across the globe, including in Europe and Canada, and to launch a new premium duo bundle of ad-free Disney+ and Hulu this fall, as we take steps toward making extensive Hulu content available via Disney+ later this year for bundle subscribers.”

Revenue for the last quarter was up 4pc while its streaming loss narrowed. However, Disney+ reported a greater-than-expected 7.4pc decline in subscribers, which now number 146.1m.

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Vish Gain is a journalist with Silicon Republic