Why Netflix And Disney Plus Are Restricting Family Logins (And How to Keep Sharing)

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Netflix is finally cutting down on password sharing. Here is why they are doing it and how to keep sharing.
Updated May 8, 2024
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Many of us have shared our streaming service passwords among family and friends. It is a great way to help them get ahead financially.

Streaming titan Netflix even once tweeted that “Love is sharing a password.” But, alas, things change.

Netflix recently started cracking down on password sharing, stating that accounts are “meant to be shared by people living together in one household.”

Disney Plus has also been restricting who can and cannot use the service. It flatly states the following: “You may not share your account and subscription outside of your household.”

Here are some things you need to know about the recent crackdown.

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Slowing subscriber growth might have led to the crackdown

sitthiphong/Adobe Netflix app on Laptop screen

One reason for the crackdown might be a slowdown in subscriber growth. Disney, Hulu, Max, Netflix, Paramount, and Showtime have seen a cooling trend, meaning their numbers are either slowing down or staying flat.

Market penetration has pushed streaming companies to focus more on increasing profits than finding new users. After all, most people who are going to subscribe already have.

Other costs and competition also might be factors in the crackdown

tanaonte/Adobe How to Cancel Netflix in Just a Few Minutes or Less

Content isn’t free. And while streaming companies can lean on their libraries, making their own original movies and series isn’t cheap.

Netflix alone spends upward of $30 million per episode of “Stranger Things,” according to one report.

Netflix and Disney are among the biggest streaming services, but they are not alone. Digital Trends says more than 260 million subscribe to Netflix. Amazon Prime has more than 200 million subscriptions, and Disney Plus has around 150 million subscriptions.

Plus, there is a lot of competition from other streaming services, including Paramount Plus, Hulu, Peacock, and others. 

The crackdown started last year

tanaonte/Adobe cute little boy watching the new Disney plus platform

Disney Plus started its crackdown in Canada last year, and it’s planning to expand it in 2024.

Netflix’s effort to tamp down on password sharing started in late 2023.

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The crackdown will impact many subscribers

Koray/Adobe woman enjoying popcorn while watching netflix

It turns out that most of us share our streaming passwords.

A whopping 69% of Americans have used someone else’s password to access all the good stuff on a streaming platform, according to a Secure Data Recovery survey.

Perhaps more impressive, 80% of us do not think password sharing is stealing.

Netflix and Disney can find out if you are sharing

Goodpics/Adobe woman watching netflix

This might sound kinda creepy, but you’re not hidden on the internet.

Both Netflix and Disney can track sign-ins and IP addresses. Access from different locations or devices can trigger red flags, since the providers know where your account is based. 

The crackdown could cost you

hamara/Adobe Netflix logo on smartphone screen

If you subscribe to a streaming service and share your details, you’ll get hit in the wallet.

Netflix, for example, will charge you an extra $8 a month if it figures out you are sharing outside your household.

‘Household’ sharing is still OK

Daniel Krasoń/Adobe woman is using Netflix application on her TV

When it comes to sharing, anyone inside your main residence is good to go.

The account-sharing policy at Netflix and Disney Plus revolves around the definition of a "household."

Netflix says a household is people cohabiting and sharing the same internet connection, essentially relying on the same IP address. Disney Plus says much the same.

So, this definition implies that using a Netflix or Disney Plus account beyond the primary location — such as at a friend's house or during travel — might breach its terms. 

Bottom line

ink drop/Adobe Netflix app on phone and popcorn

The recent crackdown on password sharing by Netflix and Disney Plus reflects a broader industry shift toward profitability over signing up new users. After all, there are only so many viewers in the world.

So, increasingly, people who want to avoid trouble will need to purchase their own subscriptions. Or, if they want to boost their financial fitness, they can skip using streaming services altogether.

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Author Details

Amaka Chukwuma Amaka Chukwuma is a B2B and B2C freelance writer with a focus on personal finance, sexual health, and tech. When she's not writing or reading newsletters, she's either on social media or playing peekaboo with her daughter.

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