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Disney+ announces crackdown on password sharing

NEW YORK – Password-sharing crackdowns are becoming more and more common in the streaming world today. And Disney Plus is following suit.

In an email sent to the users in Canada earlier this week, Disney announced restrictions on Canadian subscribers’ “ability to share your account or login credentials outside of your household.”

Disney Plus’ updated Canadian Subscriber Agreement says users cannot share a subscription outside their household unless permitted by their account tier — noting that violations could lead to Disney Plus limiting or terminating service. “Household” covers the collection of devices associated with a subscriber’s primary residence and used by the individuals who live there, per the streamer’s help center.

These password-sharing restrictions are part of multiple updates to Disney Plus’ Subscriber Agreement set to go into effect for most Canadian users Nov. 1. Annual subscribers in Quebec could see the changes a bit later, depending on their billing cycle — and users who switch their plan prior to Nov. 1 will see the updates apply immediately, this week’s email said.

As previously announced in August, Nov. 1 is also the date that Disney Plus will roll out ad-supported tier offerings both in Canada and select European markets. Disney Plus’ ad tier has are already been in the U.S. since December 2022.

It’s unclear when or if similar household restructions could be seen beyond Canada. When contacted by The Associated Press, a spokesperson for Disney Plus did not share additional details.

In an earnings call last month, Walt Disney Co. CEO Bob Iger vowed to make its streaming services profitable — notably through via a planned October price hike on its ad-free Disney+ and Hulu plans in the U.S. and a crackdown on password sharing expected to extend through next year.

At the time, Iger didn’t provide details about the password-sharing crackdown beyond saying that Disney could reap some benefits in 2024, although he added that the work “might not be completed” that year and that Disney couldn’t predict how many password sharers would switch to paid subscriptions.

New streaming restrictions go well beyond Disney. Netflix, for example, notably made headlines cracking down on password sharing. In the U.S., freeloading viewers are now being required to open their own accounts unless a subscriber with a standard or premium plan agrees to pay an $8 monthly surcharge to allow more people living in different households to watch.

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