Hulu Set to Begin Password-Sharing Crackdown, Following Disney+

Hulu is set to begin cracking down on password and account sharing, following a similar move by Disney+.

The Disney-owned streaming service on Wednesday sent an email to subscribers notifying them of an updated subscriber agreement, one that explicitly bars sharing accounts outside of the user’s household.

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“Unless otherwise permitted by your Service Tier, you may not share your subscription outside of your household,” the change to the agreement stated. “‘Household’ means the collection of devices associated with your primary personal residence that are used by the individuals who reside therein.”

The new agreement was dated Jan. 25, and says the terms will become effective March 14.

“We may, in our sole discretion, analyze the use of your account to determine compliance with this Agreement,” it continues. “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.”

The changes to the Hulu agreement follow similar language in the Disney+ subscriber agreement late last year.

The move by Hulu and Disney+ to crack down on password sharing and account sharing was teed up by Disney CEO Bob Iger last August on the company’s earnings call.

“We’re actively exploring ways to address account sharing and the best options for paying subscribers to share their accounts with friends and family,” Iger said at the time, adding that “we will roll out tactics to drive monetization sometime in 2024.”

And it comes after Netflix has reported two consecutive quarters with big subscriber growth (22 million combined), attributing it to its successful password-sharing crackdown. Netflix’s clear success in the space has sparked competitors to pursue similar strategies, working carefully to identify accounts that share passwords, and to gently nudge them into subscribing, perhaps to the less expensive ad-supported tier.

Hulu, of course, was an early adopter to streaming, having launched in 2008. However, it never explicitly barred the sharing of accounts outside of households until now.

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