Of all the streaming shenanigans that have come to pass in recent history, password-sharing crackdowns seem like the most unfair ( and, sadly, one of the most effective) tactics of them all. Yes, someone has to pay in order for streaming services to survive. But it does feel especially discordant to limit the use of a digital product in such a way. After all, no one would prevent you from mailing a friend a DVD you purchased. But password-sharing crackdowns seem to be the new horizon for streamers. Netflix first began the sharing limitations, and since then, Disney+ added language to set up a similar restriction. Now, Disney-owned Hulu has also taken the first measures for a password-sharing crackdown of its own, following in the footsteps of the other streamers.
The Hollywood Reporter revealed that Hulu sent an email to its subscribers warning them of the password-sharing crackdown to come. The email noted, “Unless otherwise permitted by your Service Tier, you may not share your subscription outside of your household… ‘Household’ means the collection of devices associated with your primary personal residence that are used by the individuals who reside therein.”
Additionally, Hulu cautioned, “We may, in our sole discretion, analyze the use of your account to determine compliance with this Agreement. If we determine, in our sole discretion, that you have violated this Agreement, we may limit or terminate access to the Service and/or take any other steps as permitted by this Agreement.”
Sigh! This Hulu password-sharing crackdown language feels very similar to what Disney+ shared with its subscribers in September of 2023. It doesn’t seem like Disney+ has offered any further action or explication of the message after the terms of agreement change, though. But Disney sending this notice to Hulu’s users seems to hint at an escalation across platforms. The Hulu password-sharing crackdown will go into effect on March 14.
According to The Hollywood Reporter, Disney CEO Bob Iger shared last summer, “We’re actively exploring ways to address account sharing and the best options for paying subscribers to share their accounts with friends and family… we will roll out tactics to drive monetization sometime in 2024.” We guess we will see how harshly Hulu and Disney+ legislate password sharing in the coming months.