Disney+, the latest premium streaming service to launch, aims to limit password sharing among subscribers. During its third-quarter 2023 earnings call, Disney CEO Bob Iger claimed the company is “actively exploring” ways to manage account sharing and plans to launch a new account sometime in 2024. policy. The executive never shared specific numbers, but said it was “significant” that many people have been sharing passwords with friends and family, though he was more concerned with how many of them were willing to convert into new subscribers — which, in turn, increased Disney+ revenue.
Netflix was the first to crack down on password sharing by logging secondary users from the app, which led to nearly 6 million new subscribers joining the platform in July. Iger believes the password-sharing change will certainly bring in “some” new subscribers, and that Disney itself should see the impact of the crackdown next year. That said, this work probably won’t be done in 2024 – I’m assuming there will be a lot of experimentation as the team continues to explore better options for shared accounts for paid subscribers. Disney will begin updating its subscriber agreements with new terms later this year, calling it a “priority.”
It makes sense for Disney to take this route, as Disney+ Hotstar, a brand in India and other South Asian countries, lost a staggering 12.5 million subscribers from April to June, growing from 52.9 million to 40.4 million. However, the drop is due to the fact that the platform ceded live streaming rights to the premium cricket tournament IPL (Indian Premier League) to Viacom18 for $2.6 billion (roughly Rs 21,497 crore), a deal that runs until 2027 Also expected.
While not explicitly mentioned, another driver could be the removal of all HBO content from Disney+ Hotstar on March 31, taking away a ton of premium shows like The Last of Us, Inheritance, Euphoria, and more. At the time, most subscribers on the internet (including me) questioned whether it was still worth keeping their subscriptions. Now, even that catalog is under the control of Viacom18 and can be streamed through JioCinema.
While this looks bad from a subscriber numbers standpoint, we have to consider that Disney+ Hotstar’s subscription costs are much lower than their international counterparts. For example, Disney+ core average revenue per user is $6.58 (~Rs. 544) per month, while Hotstar brings in only $0.59 (~Rs. 49) per month. For context, the core Disney+ experience (international) has 105.7 million subscribers, and adding Hotstar, ESPN+ and Hulu brings the total to 219.6 million worldwide. Meanwhile, rival Netflix hit 238.39 million subscribers following the password-sharing crackdown.
Disney+ Hotstar Super subscription in India starts at Rs. 899 yuan a year, with ads, provides a 1080p experience. Premium subscription costs Rs. 1,499, ad-free, and supports UHD resolution streaming. Disney+ Hotstar is also offering a mobile subscription for Rs. 499 a year, limiting access to one mobile device.