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Disney's Hotstar India streaming service plans to limit account sharing

In India, a premium account of Disney+ Hotstar streaming service still allows logins on as many as 10 devices.
Last Updated 27 July 2023, 16:51 IST

Walt Disney's India streaming service plans to start enforcing a policy of allowing its premium users to log in from only four devices, an effort aimed at limiting password sharing in a key market, two sources with direct knowledge said.

Disney's plan comes just as streaming rival Netflix in May started telling subscribers in more than 100 countries they will need to pay more to share the service with people outside their household.

In India, a premium account of Disney+ Hotstar streaming service still allows logins on as many as 10 devices, even though its website currently says "number of devices that can be logged in" is four.

Disney+ Hotstar has internally tested enforcement of the policy and has plans to start implementing it later this year to limit logins to four for such accounts, said the first person.

"Some people will be incentivised to buy" their own subscriptions with new restrictions in place, said the person.

Disney declined to comment.

Disney had hoped that not strictly enforcing the four-device login policy would attract subscribers who could start accessing the service via password sharing but then eventually buy their own accounts, the person added.

Disney, Netflix, Amazon and billionaire Mukesh Ambani's JioCinema have become hugely popular in India, which is set to grow into a $7 billion market for the sector by 2027, Media Partners Asia estimates.

Industry data says Hotstar is market leader in terms of users with approximately 50 million.

The second source said Disney+ Hotstar in India did not enforce the four-device login policy as it did not want to inconvenience premium users and had detected internally that only around 5 per cent of its premium subscribers logged in from more than four devices.

The new planned restriction will also apply to its cheaper plan which will limit usage across two devices, the second source added.

Disney's Hotstar topped India's streaming market between January 2022 and March 2023 with a 38 per cent share of viewership, while rivals Netflix and Prime Video held 5 per cent each, data from research firm Media Partners Asia showed.

Walt Disney is also in initial discussions internally to explore options to sell or find a joint venture partner for its India digital and TV business, according to a source with direct knowledge.

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(Published 27 July 2023, 16:51 IST)

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