Move over, Netflix — Disney might be the next company to carry out a password-sharing crackdown. During an earnings call on Wednesday, Disney CEO Bob Iger said the company is “actively exploring ways to address account sharing.”
Iger added that Disney “will begin to update our subscriber agreements with additional terms and our sharing policies” later this year and will also “roll out tactics to drive monetization” in 2024. Netflix started charging users an extra fee to share their accounts with someone outside their household earlier this year.
When asked how many people are sharing passwords across Disney’s services, Iger declined to provide a number but said it’s “significant.” He also added that the company has the “technical capability” to monitor sign-ins and that the company plans to “get at this issue” in 2024.
“While it is likely you’ll see some impact in calendar 24, it’s possible that... the work will not be completed within the calendar year,” Iger said. “But we certainly have established this as a real priority, and we actually think that there’s an opportunity here to help us grow our business.”
Additionally, Disney announced a new $19.99 per month ad-free bundle with Disney Plus and Hulu that will launch in the US on September 6th. With the introduction of the bundle, the price of individual subscriptions to Disney Plus and Hulu will go up on October 12th. While Disney Plus’ ad-free plan will cost $13.99 / month (up from $10.99), the ad-free version of Hulu will cost $17.99 per month (up from $14.99). The ad-supported plans for both services will stay the same.
While Disney Plus subscribers in the US and Canada decreased slightly, going from 46.3 million to 46 million, Disney’s India-based Hotstar service suffered a huge blow. The service lost over 12 million subscribers since April, leaving it with 40.4 million. That dropoff is likely related to Disney losing the streaming rights to the Indian Premier League (IPL) last year. Disney’s other streaming services, ESPN Plus and Hulu, only saw a slight shift in subscribers.
In an interview with CNBC last month, Iger revealed his plans for the future of the entertainment giant, which includes cutting the company’s spending on Marvel and Star Wars productions. Iger also hinted that the company could sell some of its cable networks that he says aren’t “core” to Disney, such as ABC, FX, and National Geographic.
“Moving forward, I believe three businesses will drive the greatest growth in value creation over the next five years,” Iger said during an earnings call on Wednesday. “They are our film studios, our parks business, and streaming, all of which are inextricably linked to our brands and franchises.”
Although Iger was initially expected to stay with Disney for two years, he recently extended his contract with the company until at least 2026. Iger has already begun rocking the boat at Disney since returning as CEO last year, implementing a series of layoffs and content takedowns across Hulu and Disney Plus.