Disney could follow Netflix with crackdown on password sharing

(Logo courtesy the Walt Disney Company, Graphic by The Desk)

The Walt Disney Company has sent a survey to customers of its Disney Plus streaming service in Spain, asking subscribers if they share their passwords with viewers who live outside of their immediate home address.

The survey, which was posted to Twitter last month, suggests Disney may start cracking down on password sharing in an effort to curb freeloaders who watch TV shows and movies without paying for a subscription.

Such a move would follow a similar strategy employed by Netflix, which tested various ways to curb password sharing for its own streaming service in several Latin American countries. Netflix recently said around 100 million viewers do so without a subscription and blamed password sharing for a drop in revenue.

Neither Disney nor Netflix have taken proactive measures to curb password sharing in the United States, and have instead focused their efforts on overseas customers. In the past, both Netflix and Disney have turned an apparent blind eye to the issue of password sharing, with executives at Netflix even citing it as good for business.

Executives at Disney, on the other hand, simply said the believed customers would do the right thing and pay for a subscription. Disney currently offers Disney Plus as a standalone subscription for $8 a month or $80 a year, though some Verizon customers receive it for free, and all customers can get a discount on the family-friendly streamer by bundling it with its adult-oriented service Hulu Plus and the sports-centric ESPN Plus.

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