Disney+ crackdown on password-sharing starts in weeks — how much would YOU pay to avoid Netflix-style block?

disney plus logo in the centre of a grid of artwork for exclusive tv shows films and documentaries available on the streaming service

Disney+ has confirmed that it will block account holders from sharing passwords with friends or family from June in a small number of countries, before cracking down on the practice worldwide from September

Aaron Brown

By Aaron Brown

Published: 07/04/2024

- 06:30

Share a Disney+ account with someone else? You're streaming on borrowed time

  • Disney CEO Bob Iger confirms password-sharing crackdown starts in June
  • It will start in "a few countries in a few markets"
  • Disney+ will enforce password-sharing rules worldwide in September
  • Subscribers to be charged “additional fee” to watch on multiple devices
  • Netflix pioneered this approach, driving millions of new subscriptions

If you're watching Disney+ with someone else's login ...you've only got eight weeks left until you'll need to stump up for your own subscription, which starts from £4.99 a month. That's because Disney CEO Bob Iger has confirmed when the streamer's long-awaited password-sharing crackdown will begin.

Starting in June, Disney+ will block account holders from sharing their login details with friends and family in a bid to drive up the number of paid subscribers and boost its bottom line. Netflix pioneered this approach, adding 8.8 million new users to its streaming service in just three months after it clamped down on password-sharing.

In an interview with US network CNBC, Chief Executive Bob Iger said the crackdown would begin as a small trial in a limited number of countries before a “full rollout” in September. The Disney executive had previously hinted that subscribers could expect to see password-sharing restricted this year.

Many major streaming services are impacted by password sharing – where users share their login with family and friends who live elsewhere, enabling them to access content without paying for it – despite it being against platform rules.

disney plus shows displayed on a number of devices that support the streaming service, including a flatscreen tv, ipad, iphone and laptop

Disney+ is available on a dizzying number of devices, including Smart TVs, iPad, iPhone, Android phones and tablets, Windows and Mac, to name a few


Speaking about the crackdown as a way of supercharging revenue, CEO Bob Iger said Disney+ would be “launching our first real foray into password sharing” in June, adding the move would help “turn this business into a business that we feel really good about”.

Disney’s decision comes after fellow streaming giant Netflix attributed a recent jump in subscribers to its own recent crackdown on password sharing. Shortly after it stepped up its action against the issue, the company reported a major spike in new users signing up for the service and has seen revenues rise since.

“Netflix is the gold standard in streaming,” Mr Iger said. “They’ve done a phenomenal job and a lot of different directions. I actually have very, very high regard for what they’ve accomplished. If we can only accomplish what they’ve accomplished, that would be great.”

To block Disney+ subscribers from sharing their login details, Disney has confirmed that it'll incorporate new technology that identifies when someone outside of your household is trying to watch on your account. If you want to allow people outside of your household to continue watching, you’ll need to pay an “additional fee” — although Disney hasn’t revealed how much that will cost.

Disney CEO Bob Igor teased plans to crack down on password-sharing last year, but this is the first time we’ve had a concrete release date from the entertainment behemoth.

It comes as few months after Disney+ quietly updated its small print to explicitly ban users from sharing a single subscription with people outside of their household. The new terms of service started to apply to new subscribers on January 25, but didn't apply to existing subscribers until March 14, 2024.

With both of these deadlines in the rearview mirror, Disney+ can now start to clamp down on password-sharing for its paid subscribers worldwide. We'll need to wait to find out exactly where the first trials will take place, or how much subscribers will need to spend to let someone outside of your immediate household stream TV shows, documentaries, and movies on your Disney+ account.

If the plans to crackdown on password-sharing found familiar, it’s likely because Netflix pursued a very similar policy — to enormous financial success — with its subscribers last year. The US company now requires all subscribers to set up a Netflix Household. This serves as a primary location, linked to your household broadband connection, for any devices signed in with your account information.

While you’re still allowed to travel with mobile devices, like an iPhone or Android phone, any other Smart TVs, streaming dongles, or Sky and Freeview set-top boxes will warn that you’re outside of your Netflix Household and prompt you to change the associated location ...or add an extra paid member to your subscription at the rate of £4.99 a month per person.

If you haven’t manually set a Netflix Household for your account, it will be set automatically based on the location where you most frequently stream from the video on-demand service.


While Disney has stayed tight-lipped about the specifics, we’d expect its password-sharing crackdown to use a similar system.

“While we are still in the early days and don’t expect notable benefits from these paid sharing initiatives until the back half of calendar 2024, we want to reach as large an audience as possible with our outstanding content,” Disney’s Hugh Johnston told investors during a recent earnings call.

“And we’re looking forward to rolling out this new functionality to improve the overall customer experience and grow our subscriber base.”

Last year, Disney+ overhauled its offering in the UK, replacing the previous one-subscription-fits-all approach with three different price tiers.

As part of the shake-up, it introduced a new ad-supported plan that allows viewers to access the streaming platform’s content for a cheaper price of £4.99 compared with its ad-free plans.

Subscribers to the new tier will be able to have two streams playing at the same time but they will not be able to download TV series, documentaries, and films to watch offline on devices.

The more expensive ad-free tiers include the standard package at £7.99, or £79.90 annually, which has the same video and audio quality as the lower level but allows for downloads on up to 10 devices, while the premium model at £10.99, or £109.90, has improved video and audio quality and allows four devices to watch concurrently.

Disney+ exclusively hosts series including The Bear, Welcome To Wrexham, and Coleen Rooney: The Real Wagatha Story. It also launched a new series following the Kardashian-Jenner family last year, titled The Kardashians, which follows on from its predecessor, Keeping Up WithThe Kardashians, in documenting the personal lives and business ventures of the siblings.

Of course, the Netflix rival is also home to the animated classics that are most associated with the Walt Disney brand, including The Lion King, The Jungle Book, Cinderella, Frozen, and Encanto.

Additional Reporting By Martyn Landi, PA Technology Correspondent

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