Disney is set to crack down on password-sharing for its streaming services, Disney Plus and Hulu, starting this summer. The announcement came during an earnings call where Disney’s chief financial officer, Hugh Johnston, revealed plans to offer separate subscriptions for accounts suspected of improper sharing. Additionally, Disney will introduce an option for account holders to add individuals outside their household for an extra fee, aiming to “improve” the overall customer experience and grow its subscriber base.
Changes for Existing Subscribers
Existing subscribers of Disney Plus will face these changes starting March 14th. Both Disney Plus and Hulu have recently updated their terms of service to prohibit subscription sharing with individuals outside one’s household. While these terms have already applied to new subscribers since January 25th, existing members will face these changes starting March 14th. This move follows Netflix’s implementation of a paid sharing model last year, where subscribers are charged an additional $7.99 per month to add someone located outside their home.
Disney sees paid sharing as an opportunity to expand its reach and capitalize on a strategy already employed by competitors. Johnston emphasized the company’s forthcoming actions to address this issue in the coming months, indicating a proactive approach to mitigate improper account usage.
In addition to the password-sharing crackdown, Disney Plus plans to launch a unified streaming experience with Hulu in March, following a successful beta release last year. However, Disney Plus reported a loss of 1.3 million subscribers in the US and Canada following price increases, while Hulu saw an increase of 1.2 million members.
New Sports Streaming Service
Meanwhile, Disney-owned ESPN unveiled plans to launch a new live sports streaming service in partnership with Fox and Warner Bros. Discovery, set to debut in the fall. This service will also be accessible to Disney Plus bundle subscribers, which includes Hulu and ESPN Plus. These announcements coincide with Disney’s long-term strategy to adapt to the evolving media landscape, including the launch of a direct-to-consumer version of ESPN in August 2025, reflecting the company’s pivot away from traditional pay TV models in response to changing viewer habits and market dynamics.