Disney+ is the latest premium streaming service seeking to restrict the sharing of passwords among its subscribers. During the third quarter 2023 earnings call, Disney CEO Bob Iger claimed that the company was “actively exploring” ways to manage account sharing, with plans to roll out new policies down the road. of 2024. The executive never dropped a number, but said that a “significant number of people share passwords with friends and family, although his biggest concern is how many ‘of them are ready to convert into new subscribers, thus increasing Disney+ revenue.
Netflix was the first to crack down on password sharing by disconnecting secondary users from the application, which allowed nearly 6 million new subscribers to join the platform in July. Iger believes that the changes to password sharing will surely attract “a few” new subscribers and that Disney itself should see the effects of the crackdown next year. That said, it’s possible the work won’t be completed in calendar year 2024. I suspect there will be a lot of experimentation, as the team continues to explore better options allowing paying subscribers to share their accounts. Disney will begin updating its subscription contracts with new terms later this year, calling it “priority.”
It makes sense for Disney to take this route, given that Disney+ Hotstar – the brand in India and other South Asian countries – just lost 12.5 million subscribers between April and June, going from 52, 9 million to 40.4 million subscribers. The drop was expected, however, given that the platform lost live streaming rights to the premium cricket tournament IPL (Indian Premier League) to Viacom18 in a $2.6 billion deal (approximately Rs. 21,497 crore) ongoing till 2027.
Although not explicitly mentioned, another driving factor could be the removal of all HBO content from Disney+ Hotstar, which happened on March 31, removing a ton of quality shows such as The Last of Us, Succession, Euphoria, and more. At the time, most subscribers on the Internet (myself included) wondered if it was still worth keeping their subscription. Now even this catalog is under the control of Viacom18, available for streaming via JioCinema.
While this seems bad from a subscriber count perspective, we have to consider that Disney+ Hotstar subscriptions cost much less than their international counterparts. For example, the average base revenue per user of Disney+ is $6.58 (approximately Rs. 544) per month, while Hotstar earns only $0.59 (approximately Rs. 49) per month. As a reminder, the main Disney+ experience (international) has a total of 105.7 million subscribers, which, combined with Hotstar, ESPN+ and Hulu, equates to 219.6 million subscribers worldwide. Meanwhile, rival Netflix recorded 238.39 million subscribers, following a crackdown on password sharing.
A Disney+ Hotstar Super subscription in India starts at Rs. 9,999. 899 per year with ads, providing a 1080p experience. The Premium subscription costs Rs. 1,499 with no ads and support for streaming in Ultra-HD resolution. Disney+ Hotstar also offers a mobile subscription at Rs. 9,999. 499 per year, limiting access to a single mobile device.