Disney+ will stop password sharing – and more to follow (AV).

Disney+ will stop password sharing after Netflix’s enormously successful revenue hike from the same policy. Other streaming services will likely follow shortly.

Essentially, Netflix allows one IP address (call this a household). Plus a number (One – Basic,  two – Standard, and four – Premium) of simultaneous display devices.

It has had to make some allowances for users when travelling and signing into a TV or using a Streaming dongle at another address. But these are temporary only. It frequently kicks you off and makes you sign in via a code sent to your email.

How big is password sharing?

In the US, Netflix said that over 100 million people (population 331 million) were illegally using someone’s account. A 2022 Parks Associate survey showed that 40% of users shared passwords. One Australian survey found that 41% were sharing passwords.

Why is password sharing stopping?

When a streaming service comes online, it only wants viewer/device numbers to build critical mass to sell viewing data to advertisers and sponsors. It does this via introductory offers and ignoring password sharing (even though its terms forbid this). As its market share grows, it gets rid of these offers and cracks down on password sharing.

Until Netflix successfully stopped this, no other streaming services were game to prevent password sharing for fear of losing viewers and revenue.

We are actively exploring ways to address account sharing and the best options for paying subscribers to share their accounts with friends and family.

Disney+/Hulu CEO Bob Iger

FAST (Free Ad-Supported TV) is growing

Samsung, LG, TCL, Pluto, Tubi and more have over 400 dedicated Australian FAST channels (USA has 1500) delivered via the internet. It has experienced a 20X growth from 2019 to 2022, and predictions are 30X growth in a few years.

Netflix says that its free advertising-supported service had over 5 million users in the first six months (in the markets where it is offered). It currently accounts for about 25% of new signups.

Some 61% of Australians say they are will watch advertisements for free access to TV shows and movies. Interestingly most FAST channels limit the advertising time in a program to 3-5 minutes. Once that is used, the remainder of the program is advert free.

The problem with FAST is that the average Aussie does not even know it exists.

Piracy is back on the agenda

Putting aside any moral or legal issues, the crackdown on password sharing has resulted in a massive 22% growth (to 230 billion visits to Torrent sites) in downloading pirated TV/Movie content. During the first half of 2023, video/music piracy accounted for 24% of global broadband use.

Many countries, including Australia, have placed geo-blocks on Torrent sites. But these are easily circumvented by a VPN (Read Do you need a VPN? (Virtual Private Network guide). Where sites like Pirate Bay et al. are risky due to potential malware, sites like Torrent Galaxy are 100% clean. The popular Torrent downloader uTorrent guarantees it is free from malware, although it cannot vouch for downloaded content.

Ironically, Torrent sites get much of their content from Netflix, Disney+, Amazon Prime et al., making it easy to download full series or popular movies.