It’s about to get tougher for viewers to share logins on more popular streaming services. The Hulu, Disney+, and ESPN+ trio will now disallow users from sharing passwords outside of their households.
On Wednesday, subscribers of Disney-owned Hulu received an email informing them that, starting March 14, the company would start adding “limitations on sharing your account outside of your household.” The company also revised its Terms of Service to explicitly ban password sharing outside of “your primary personal residence.”
User agreements for Disney+ and ESPN+, as well as Hulu, all now state that users may not share passwords outside of their own home. “You agree not to impersonate or misrepresent your affiliation with any person or entity, including using another person’s username, password or other account information, or another person’s name or likeness, or provide false details for a parent or guardian,” the agreement terms say. The new terms were first reported by CNN.
Last summer, Disney CEO Bob Iger told Wall Street analysts during an earnings call that the company “will begin to update our subscriber agreements with additional terms and our sharing policies.” Disney+ began the process last year.
Hulu and Disney+ have begun merging, though you can still access a Hulu account independently of the bundled offers. It’s likely that Disney will soon own all of Hulu.
Given password sharing is fairly common for streaming services, customers aren’t likely to be thrilled. But it’s not all that surprising of a move on Disney’s part. Last year, Netflix made the same change and saw a big return: In just a couple of months, the streaming platform added millions of global customers. By the end of 2023, it had over 200 million subscribers. Last week, the company announced that in the most recent quarter it added 13 million subscribers.
To that end, it makes sense for other streaming giants to follow suit, and it seems like they mean business. In the email Hulu sent to subscribers, the company noted that “we may assess your compliance with these limitations.” It’s unclear how the company plans to measure compliance, but the note said it will “analyze the use of your account” and asserted the right to “limit or terminate access” if the policy isn’t adhered to.
Basically, password sharing on streaming apps feels like it’s about to come to a gradual halt. So if you’ve been logging into your friend’s, mom’s, or friend’s mom’s Hulu, Disney+, or ESPN+, it’s about time to get your own, or risk losing access.