Saturday, April 1

The ban opens: Disney + will follow in the footsteps of Netflix and begin to hunt shared accounts

Netflix’s recent communication to its shareholders about the drop in subscribers in the first quarter of the year, which led to a stock market crash and some generalized panic about the end of this seemingly infinite growth of the platform, seems to have also generated shock waves that affect to the rest of the platforms. Disney + is the latest to join what seems to be a general trend to tackle the problem of shared accounts.

Netflix: the first to detect a sticky situation. For years, Netflix has been the paradise of shared accounts: the four simultaneous users in different locations that the platform allows have made it easy for many accounts to be paid and shared among several people. And although in their terms of use they warn that they are not allowed, for practical purposes they are not pursued.

Conclusion of Netflix: more than 100 million households around the world are not paying what they should, 30 million of them in the US and Canada. The measures that Netflix is ​​going to take are not yet clear, but possibly it will be oriented towards the creation of sub-accounts, that is, to monetize those “illegal” accounts. Netflix will start tracking accounts in 2022 and applying measures in 2023, and its bet is to see how many of the people who now pay a quarter of a fee or directly enjoy it for free are willing to start paying.

Netflix, you have a problem and it's not the shared accounts or (only) the price: it's the content

Disney: You start by asking. What was believed to be a problem that especially affected Netflix seems to be spreading to the rest of the platforms, in a curious contagion effect that we are already seeing with the issue of advertising included in the content. The companies that do not use it have already announced that they will do so in the future (such as Disney itself, which says it is very close, or Netflix, as a second measure to attack the drain on profits with the drop in subscribers).

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The point is that it is now Disney that seems interested in investigating the issue of shared accounts and taking action on it. Our Genbeta colleagues talk about Disney+ sending some of its subscribers email surveys asking them what reasons lead them to share accounts. Some options are that other people don’t use the service regularly enough, that these people can’t or won’t pay for the service, that they don’t have access to the content where they live, or that I want to give them access so I can talk about it later.


It is clearly Disney’s first step when it comes to drawing conclusions about the reasons for possible drops in subscriptions, or not growing as much as expected (the latest data known about its audiences is the 130 million with which it closed 2021) . The measures can enter the range of cheaper subscriptions for those who until now enjoy them for free, or a more aggressive attitude of closing the tap on accounts that are not under the same roof.

The streaming as a social network. In any case, it is clear that it is an issue that worries companies, and that it hides behind something more than a trick by subscribers to save part of the rate in a scenario that is simply beginning to show signs that it cannot grow much more. At least not with more services. In reality, after sharing the platforms, even if it is under the watchful eye of the companies and not always with their permission, there is the development of a series of behaviors and customs that we already described a few months ago.

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Many users treat the platforms as a social network, so to speak: they share their accounts because for them the experience of commenting and discussing content with other subscribers is important. To what extent is this way of experiencing the services of streaming is irreplaceable, is it all or nothing? Are shared accounts, although we did not know it, the true backbone of Netflix or Disney +? Quite possibly, we will have the answer in the coming months.

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