The Walt Disney Co. may restrict account sharing for its streaming services in a move mimicking Netflix.
“We are actively exploring ways to address account sharing and the best options for paying subscribers to share their accounts with friends and family,” CEO Bob Iger said late Wednesday afternoon.
Disney will start updating its subscriber agreements to include “additional terms” on sharing later in the year, he said. That, according to Iger, would be followed in 2024 by implementation of “tactics to drive monetization.”
He hinted at the possibility of doing so while speaking on the company’s third-quarter earnings call in the afternoon.
Iger, without providing a figure, said password sharing on Disney’s streaming services was “significant.”
“What we don’t know, of course, is as we get to work on this, how much of the password sharing as we basically eliminate it will convert to growth and subs,” he told analysts and investors. “Obviously, we believe there will be some, but we’re not speculating.”
Streaming competitor Netflix previously started subjecting users of Netflix in the U.S. and many other countries to its new policy that an account “is meant to be shared by people living together in one household” in May.
That required people outside the subscriber’s home to get their own account or become an “extra member” on the account they were already using, a move meant to cut down on the 100 million households that Netflix said had been engaging in password sharing.
In July, the company counted about 238.39 million paid Netflix memberships globally, having seen 5.89 million net additions during the quarter it conducted its broad crackdown.
Iger said Wednesday that Disney officials “certainly have established this [addressing account sharing] as a real priority” and think there is a “real opportunity here to help us grow our business.”
The direct-to-consumer segment, which includes the Disney+, Hulu and ESPN+ streaming services, brought in $5.5 billion in revenue for the third quarter, a 9% increase year over year. Its operating loss dropped by 52%, coming in at $512 million.
The three streaming services had a combined 219.6 million paid subscribers.
For the third quarter, the total subscriber count for Disney+ fell from the prior quarter, coming in at 146.1 million. Hulu’s paid subscribers, at 48.3 million, increased slightly, while ESPN+ declined from 25.3 million to 25.2 million, according to the company.
Iger said the entertainment giant aimed for Disney’s direct-to-consumer business to become profitable by the end of fiscal 2024.
Overall, Disney reported $22.3 billion in revenue and $460 million in net losses from continuing operations. Over the same three-month period last year, Disney brought in $21.5 billion in revenue with a $1.4 billion profit.