Disney+ Hotstar Takes Cue from Netflix, Plans to Curb Password Sharing in India

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In India, following Netflix’s lead, another major streaming giant, Disney+ Hotstar, is implementing measures to address password sharing among its premium users. According to reports, the company intends to enforce a new policy that will restrict premium account holders from logging in from a maximum of four devices. This step is aimed at curbing password sharing, a significant concern in Disney’s thriving market.

Reuters reported that Disney is emulating Netflix, which had already introduced a similar policy in over 100 countries back in May. Netflix subscribers were informed that sharing the service with individuals outside their households would require an additional payment.

Presently, premium Disney+ Hotstar accounts in India allow logins on up to 10 devices, despite the official website mentioning a limit of four. However, the company has internally tested the policy enforcement and is planning to implement it later this year, with the primary objective of capping logins at four devices for premium accounts.

According to Reuters undisclosed sources, it is anticipated that some users may be inclined to purchase their own subscriptions once the new restrictions are in effect. Disney initially aimed to attract subscribers by being lenient with the four-device login policy, hoping they would eventually opt for individual accounts after experiencing the service through password sharing.

India’s streaming market has witnessed immense popularity with platforms like Disney+, Netflix, Amazon, and JioCinema, owned by billionaire Mukesh Ambani. Projections by Media Partners Asia indicate that the Indian streaming industry will grow into a $7 billion market by 2027.

Among these platforms, Hotstar is the market leader with approximately 50 million subscribers, as reported by industry data.

The decision to delay enforcing the four-device login policy for Disney+ Hotstar in India was attributed to the company’s desire to avoid inconvenience for premium users. Internal investigations also revealed that only around 5% of premium subscribers logged in from more than four devices. However, with the forthcoming changes, this restriction will also apply to the more affordable plan, limiting usage to only two devices.

Media Partners Asia’s research data showed that Disney’s Hotstar dominated India’s streaming market between January 2022 and March 2023, capturing an impressive 38% of viewership, while competitors Netflix and Prime Video each held 5%.

In addition to the device login policy, Walt Disney is actively exploring potential options for its India digital and TV business. Internal discussions are ongoing to identify a joint venture partner or explore the possibility of selling the business, indicating Disney’s commitment to adapting and expanding its presence in India’s rapidly growing streaming market.

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