Disney’s password-sharing crackdown will officially begin this summer. During an earnings call on Wednesday, Disney chief financial officer Hugh Johnston said Disney Plus accounts “suspected of improper sharing” will see an option to sign up for their own subscription.
Disney will also start letting account holders add people outside their household for an “additional fee” — but it didn’t say how much that will cost. “We want to reach as large an audience as possible with our outstanding content,” Johnston said. “We’re looking forward to rolling out this new functionality to improve the overall customer experience and grow our subscriber base.”
This year, both Disney Plus and Hulu have updated their terms of service to ban users from sharing their subscriptions with people outside their households. The new terms started applying to new subscribers on January 25th, but it’s coming for existing members on March 14th. Netflix already rolled out a similar version of paid sharing last year, costing subscribers an extra $7.99 per month to add a person located outside their home.
“Paid sharing is an opportunity for us,” Johnston added. “It’s one that our competitor is obviously taking advantage of, and one that sits in front of us ... We’ve got some very specific actions that we’re taking in the next couple of months.”
This comes as Disney Plus plans to launch a one-app experience with Hulu in March after releasing it in beta last year. The company’s earnings report also revealed that Disney Plus lost 1.3 million subscribers in the US and Canada following last year’s price hikes, while Hulu added 1.2 million members.
On Tuesday, Disney-owned ESPN revealed plans to launch a new live sports streaming service in partnership with Fox and Warner Bros. Discovery. The not-yet-named service will launch this fall and will also be available to Disney Plus bundle subscribers with Hulu and ESPN Plus. The news of the service even comes as Disney plans to launch a direct-to-consumer version of ESPN in August 2025, reflecting a shift away from pay TV amid a declining viewership and shrinking ad market.