If you’re piggybacking on someone else’s Disney+ account, you may soon have to pay up to access the streamer.
The Mouse House has notified Disney+ subscribers in Canada that as of Nov. 1, “Unless otherwise permitted by your service tier, you may not share your subscription outside of your household.” The notification also informs customers that if the company has determined that a Disney+ subscriber has violated those terms, “we may limit or terminate access to the service and/or take any other steps as permitted by this agreement.” The language suggests that Disney+ will be offering a new option (or options) for account-sharing outside a primary user’s household.
The notification to Canadian subscribers is part of the company’s updates to Disney+ subscriber agreements to clarify rules relating to the sharing of accounts, with the U.S. coming later this year.
Disney CEO Bob Iger had announced this summer that the company was embarking on a strategy to monetize streaming account freeloaders.
“We are actively exploring ways to address account sharing and the best options for paying subscribers to share their accounts with friends and family,” Iger said on Disney’s quarterly earnings call Aug. 9. “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.”
Meanwhile, also beginning Nov. 1, the company is set to launch the Disney+ ad-supported plan in Canada (priced at $7.99/month) as well as the U.K. and eight European countries.
In looking to drive revenue from password-sharing users, Disney is following the trail blazed by Netflix, which in mid-May launched its “paid-sharing program” in more than 100 countries. That has been aimed at pushing illicit password-borrowers to get their own account, or prompting customers add non-household users as an “extra member.” For the second quarter, Netflix added 5.9 million subscribers — more than double the most bullish analyst forecasts — which execs credited in large part to the paid-sharing rollout. At an investor conference last month, Netflix co-CEO Greg Peters said “We’ll be in the password-sharing business for some time,” although he added that in the grand scheme of things, “I think of that as a more transitional situation.”
Separately, starting this month, Disney is raising prices for the standalone premium tiers of Disney+, Hulu and ESPN+ in the U.S. Effective Oct. 1, Disney+ Premium (with no ads) increases to $13.99/month, up $3; Hulu without ads will also increase by $3 to $17.99/month; and ESPN+ will increase by one dollar, to $10.99/month.
For the three months ended July 1, Disney+’s subscribers in the U.S. and Canada dropped by about 300,000 customers to stand at 46.0 million. Overall, the subscription service netted 800,000 new subs, an increase of 1% sequentially to 105.7 million (excluding Disney+ Hotstar, which saw subs drop 24% after Disney lost IPL cricket rights).
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