After Netflix, too Disney+ wants to block password sharing. Disney CEO, Bob Iger, announced that the company is seriously considering implementing measures to address the problem of account sharing among users of its streaming services (in the US and other countries, Disney has more than one). The novelty could arrive in 2024. But as early as November 1, Disney + will introduce the novelty of the subscription with advertising (and with price increase for the Premium subscription).
Disney + ready to block the sharing of passwords
During the stock meeting to discuss quarterly earnings, Iger shared that Disney is “actively exploring ways to address account sharing“. He revealed that the company is working to update subscription agreements and sharing policies later this year. In addition, the launching tactics to boost monetization in 2024. In other words: by the end of the year the plan to block password sharing on Disney + will arrive, next year the Mickey Mouse company will begin to put it into practice.
“Although it is likely that you will see some impact in the calendar 24, it is possible that… the work will not be completed within the calendar year,” Iger said. “But we certainly established it as a real priority and we really think there is an opportunity here to help us grow our business.”
The CEO pointed out that the password sharing problem is significant, but declined to provide specific figures on the number of users involved. However, he did reveal that Disney has the “technical capability” to monitor access and plans to address the issue more decisively in the coming years.
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A new approach for all streaming giants
Netflix’s approach, which started a charge an additional fee to users who share their accounts with people outside one’s family home, may have prompted other companies to consider similar solutions. Disney didn’t talk about it directly: but it seems that the success of Netflix’s strategy convinced Mickey Mouse’s company to block account sharing.
The streaming industry is constantly evolving, and companies are constantly trying to find the right balance between attracting new subscribers, satisfying existing ones and ensuring sustainable profitability. The sharing of passwords, although formally not foreseen by any of the big streamers, has played an important role in their diffusion. It virtually halved (or even more) the cost of enjoying movies and TV series by making the package is even more attractive. But while it led to growth in subscriptions, it reduced the earnings potential of companies. The goal then is to find a balance that convinces users to opt out of sharing passwordswithout giving up your Disney+ subscription.
A change of direction
Disney is changing its offering in a number of ways, especially in the US, where it offers both Disney+ and Hulu. The company has announced a new ad-free package that it will include Disney Plus and Hulu, costing $19.99 a monthbut also announced a price increase for individual Disney Plus and Hulu subscriptions starting October 12.
In the USA, it already offers a less expensive service with advertising – something that will come to us on November 1, 2023. It will cost €5.99 and will allow streaming up to 1080p. Added to this change is the fact that the Premium subscription, in 4K and with Dolby Atmos, it will cost 11.99 euros. The 8.99 euro subscription instead will stop at 1080p, with simultaneous streaming of 2 devices, instead of 4.
It should also be considered, by us Italians, that Disney’s offers in many countries also include sport through the ESPN broadcaster. For example, since April the streamer it lost 12 million users in India because he gave up the streaming rights to the Indian Premier League, cricket’s premier competition.
In short, Disney’s offer around the world is complex. And this means that any operation, even blocking the sharing of Disney+ passwords, takes time to implement.
Speaking to CNBC last month, Iger explained that reducing this complexity could give it a competitive edge. You mentioned a reduction in corporate spending on related productions Marvel e Star Wars. In addition, Iger hinted that the company could divest some of its cable networks, which he believes are not essential to Disney’s core operations, such as ABC, FX e National Geographic.
Disney is betting even more on streaming
The focus on monetization underscores the importance of streaming to Disney. Iger explains to shareholders, “Looking forward, I believe that three business sectors will form the driving force behind value growth over the next five years. It’s about ours movie studios, activity in parks and the universe of streamingall closely interconnected with our brands and franchises”.
Iger, who recently extended his contract with the company through at least 2026, has ushered in significant changes within Disney since his return as CEO last year. He has implemented a number of restructurings and adjustments related to the content on platforms like Hulu and Disney Plus. And he has also spoken out on what he calls the “unrealistic demands” of striking actors and screenwriters. Even if those talents will be used for the films and series with which to convince fans to subscribe to Disney +.