Disney-owned Hulu is banning password sharing, cracking down on the practice of subscribers sharing passwords with people outside their household. Disney's policy went into effect on Jan. 25 for new subscribers and will be in effect for existing Hulu subscribers as of March 14.
It shouldn’t come as a surprise that Hulu is cracking down on password sharing, although sharing passwords has been the norm since the rise of streaming entertainment. In fact, Netflix even encouraged the practice before reversing course last year. Hulu parent Disney cracked down on password sharing for its Disney Plus and ESPN Plus services late last year. But what does this new policy mean for current and future customers of Hulu?
Hulu bans password sharing
In an updated subscriber agreement that went out via email, Hulu announced it would explicitly ban sharing a subscription outside of a single household, with ‘household’ meaning “the collection of devices associated with your primary personal residence that are used by the individuals who reside therein.”
The changes regarding password sharing went into effect for new subscribers on January 25, 2024, and will take effect for existing subscribers on March 14, 2024. This change is meant to increase the number of paying subscribers by restricting users’ ability to piggyback on someone else’s Hulu account. Disney Plus and ESPN Plus carried out a similar restriction in late 2023.
Not surprisingly, Hulu’s decision comes after a reported increase in Netflix subscriptions following its account-sharing crackdown. Now, streaming users must wonder which company will be next, even as subscription prices soar. Hulu plans with live TV cost nearly $80 per month.
Suspending or terminating accounts
Although Hulu didn’t outline how it will monitor whether a customer is sharing their log-in information, they may, “in our sole discretion and without notice or liability to you, restrict, suspend, or terminate your access to part or all of the Services, and to any Content if we believe you are using or have used the Services in violation of this Agreement.”
In any event, most streaming services discourage account sharing or limit the number of devices that can log-in at the same time. However, Netflix does offer an add-on that allows an extra member outside a subscriber’s household to be added for only $7.99 per month.
Hulu hasn’t yet followed suit, but the mention of tiers in the email to subscribers indicates this may be the case. Until then, it seems as though Hulu users will need to conform to the new rules when the crackdown begins.
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For the past 18+ years, Kathryn has highlighted the humanity in personal finance by shaping stories that identify the opportunities and obstacles in managing a person's finances. All the same, she’ll jump on other equally important topics if needed. Kathryn graduated with a degree in Journalism and lives in Duluth, Minnesota. She joined Kiplinger in 2023 as a contributor.
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