Bad news for Disney+ subscribers in the UK: Your days of sharing passwords and accounts with friends and family are officially over.
Disney+ has just rolled out a game-changing update to its subscriber agreement, making it crystal clear: your account is for your household’s eyes only.
If you’ve been enjoying a cost-effective Disney+ experience by splitting the bill with others, this could be a wake-up call.
This major shift follows Netflix’s own crackdown on account sharing earlier this year, which led to the introduction of a paid “Extra Members” scheme.
However, unlike Netflix, Disney+ is not offering any discounted alternatives to account sharing – for now.
Disney+’s move is even more noteworthy, given the platform’s new subscription plans set to launch in the UK this November.
So, what exactly has changed for Disney+ subscribers, and what does it mean for you? Read on to find out how these new rules could alter your streaming habits – and your budget.
Goodbye, Disney+ Account Sharing
Until last week, Disney+ had a rather lenient stance on account sharing: the terms merely stated that anyone you share your account details with would be subject to the same terms and conditions.
This somewhat vague language left room for interpretation and didn’t explicitly discourage sharing accounts beyond one’s household.
However, the updated terms have now clarified Disney+’s stance, leaving little room for ambiguity.
The new terms explicitly state that sharing your Disney+ subscription outside of your “household” is not permitted.
The term “household” is meticulously defined as “the collection of devices associated with your primary personal residence that are used by the individuals who reside therein.”
It essentially means that only those living in your primary residence and using devices associated with that address are allowed to access your Disney+ account (they can still use it outside, of course – as long as they’re people who normally live within your household).
This change aligns with a new Help Section that was first introduced in Canada yesterday, and has now been added to the UK help pages as well (and is not yet present in the US, at least as of this writing). It states:
“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 people who live there.”
Disney+ doesn’t just stop at defining the rules; it also outlines how it plans to enforce them. According to the updated agreement, Disney+ “may analyse the use of your account to determine compliance with this Agreement.”
This could involve tracking device locations, usage patterns, or other metrics to ascertain whether the account is being shared in violation of the new terms.
If a violation is detected, Disney+ reserves the right to “limit or terminate access to the Service and/or take any other steps as permitted by this Agreement.”
Moreover, the terms make it abundantly clear that the primary account holder will be responsible for any use of the account by their household.
This includes ensuring compliance with the new account sharing rules.
In practical terms, this means that if someone in your household violates these terms, you, as the account holder, could face repercussions, which could range from limitations on your account to outright termination of your subscription.
On the other hand, the terms now specifically mention that account sharing is not allowed – “Unless otherwise permitted by your Service Plan”.
This may hint at a future add-on, perhaps similar to Netflix’s ‘Extra Members’ scheme, that will potentially allow paid account sharing.
The Writing Was On Disney’s Wall
Bob Iger, Disney’s chief, had earlier indicated that the company was exploring ways to address account sharing.
Back in August, Iger stated that Disney sees the crackdown on password sharing as an “opportunity to help grow our business.”
He mentioned that new terms on sharing policies would be updated later this year and that tactics to drive monetisation would roll out in 2024.
It appears that Disney has decided to act sooner than expected, even though there are no paid options for account sharing as of yet.
Disney+ Joins Netflix In Fighting Password Sharing
Earlier this year, Netflix took its own steps to curb account sharing, but its approach was somewhat different from Disney+’s.
Netflix introduced an “Extra Members” scheme in the UK, where each additional member outside the household would incur an extra charge of £4.99 per month.
This was a more lenient approach, essentially monetising account sharing rather than outright banning it.
As mentioned, we’re likely to see something similar from Disney+ in 2024.
The moves by both Netflix and Disney+ signal a growing trend among streaming services to crack down on account sharing.
As these platforms continue to compete for subscribers and revenue, allowing multiple users to access content under a single subscription is increasingly seen as unsustainable.
This trend suggests that the days of casually sharing streaming accounts with friends and family to save money may be numbered, as services look for ways to maximise revenue and ensure compliance with their terms.
We have reached out to Disney+ for comment and clarification on the new terms and their enforcement mechanisms. We will update this article if they respond.
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