The Battle against Password Sharing: Disney+ Hotstar’s New Device Login Policy

The Battle against Password Sharing: Disney+ Hotstar’s New Device Login Policy

Disney’s streaming service, Disney+ Hotstar, is planning to implement a new policy that will limit device logins for its premium users. The move is aimed at curbing password sharing in one of its key markets, India. This comes as streaming giant Netflix recently announced that subscribers in over 100 countries would have to pay more to share their accounts with people outside their households. The new login restrictions are expected to be rolled out later this year.

Disney+ Hotstar’s premium accounts currently allow logins on up to 10 devices, despite its website stating that only four devices can be logged in at a time. The streaming platform conducted internal tests to enforce this policy and is now preparing to implement it to limit logins to four devices. The goal is to incentivize users to purchase their own subscriptions, rather than relying on password sharing. However, this new approach may inconvenience some premium users who are accustomed to accessing the service on multiple devices.

The Implications for the Streaming Market

The streaming market in India has witnessed significant growth, with Disney, Netflix, Amazon, and JioCinema becoming hugely popular platforms. Media Partners Asia estimates that the Indian streaming sector will be worth $7 billion by 2027. Hotstar, with around 50 million users, is currently the market leader. However, the decision to restrict device logins may have an impact on Hotstar’s user base, as some subscribers may seek alternative platforms or opt for their own subscriptions.

Disney had initially adopted a lenient approach to the four-device login policy in the hopes of attracting users through password sharing, with the expectation that they would eventually become paying subscribers. However, with the rise in password sharing and the potential loss of revenue, Disney is now tightening its restrictions. The company aims to strike a balance between retaining its existing premium users and encouraging new subscriptions.

Data from research firm Media Partners Asia reveals that Hotstar claimed the largest share of India’s streaming market between January 2022 and March 2023, with 38 percent viewership. Competitors Netflix and Prime Video held 5 percent each during the same period. India’s growing population and increasing internet penetration make it a highly lucrative market for streaming services.

Exploring New Opportunities

In addition to the device login policy changes, Walt Disney is reportedly exploring options to sell or find a joint venture partner for its India digital and TV business. This strategic move indicates Disney’s focus on optimizing its operations and potentially leveraging partnerships for further growth in the Indian market.

Disney+ Hotstar’s decision to enforce a new device login policy highlights the challenges posed by password sharing in the streaming industry. With the Indian market poised for significant growth, it is essential for providers to strike the right balance between user convenience and revenue generation. The implementation of tighter restrictions is likely to shape the future trajectory of the streaming landscape in India, as companies seek innovative strategies to drive subscriptions and combat password sharing.


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