Walt Disney’s streaming service in India is taking measures to curb password sharing among its premium users by implementing a new policy that limits login access to only four devices. This move comes in response to the issue of widespread password sharing in the crucial Indian market. Disney’s decision follows in the footsteps of Netflix, which has already started notifying subscribers in over 100 countries about additional charges for sharing the service with individuals outside their households.
Currently, Disney Hotstar’s premium account in India allows logins on up to 10 devices, even though the website displays a limit of four devices. The company conducted internal testing to enforce the four-device login policy and plans to roll out the implementation later this year. The objective of this measure is to restrict logins to a maximum of four devices for premium accounts, addressing the problem of excessive device sharing.
The new policy is expected to encourage some users to purchase their own subscriptions rather than rely on shared passwords. Disney initially adopted a lenient approach with the hope that subscribers would eventually transition to owning their accounts after starting with shared passwords.
In India, Disney Hotstar faces significant competition from streaming giants like Netflix and Amazon, as well as Mukesh Ambani’s JioCinema. The Indian streaming market is projected to grow into a substantial $7 billion sector by 2027, making it a highly attractive market for streaming services, according to Media Partners Asia.
Hotstar holds a leading position in India’s streaming market, boasting approximately 50 million users. The forthcoming restriction on device logins will also apply to Disney Hotstar’s cheaper plan, limiting usage across two devices.
Internal data revealed that only around 5% of Hotstar’s premium subscribers were logging in from more than four devices, which might have influenced the decision to enforce stricter login restrictions.
Disney’s Hotstar dominated India’s streaming market with a significant 38% share of viewership from January 2022 to March 2023, as reported by research firm Media Partners Asia.
Additionally, Walt Disney is reportedly exploring options to sell or find a joint venture partner for its India digital and TV business, according to a source with direct knowledge.