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Hulu’s ban on password-sharing has a deadline, but we don’t know how it works

Published Feb 1st, 2024 6:50AM EST
Extraordinary on Hulu
Image: Laura Radford/Disney Plus

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Netflix implemented a successful ban on password-sharing last year, aiming to reduce the number of freeloaders and increase the number of paying subscribers. It worked, and it worked amazingly well for the streamer. Netflix added some 22 million subscribers worldwide in the second half of 2023 as the ban went into effect across the world. 

Disney announced its own password-sharing crackdown for Disney Plus in late September. It released a new subscriber agreement covering the Disney Plus password-sharing rules in early November. But we had no idea how Disney would actually implement it. 

Unsurprisingly, Hulu is the next streamer looking to ban password-sharing. Since Disney owns Hulu as well, this was unavoidable. If Disney wants to prevent password-sharing on Disney Plus, it’ll likely do the same with all its streaming platforms. Like with Disney Plus, we only have a new customer agreement and a date for Hulu. But not a process that explains how the actual ban will work.

Hulu changed its subscriber agreement to incorporate the password-sharing ban outside the household. Per The Hollywood Reporter, Hulu sent out an email to customers on Wednesday. Dated January 25th, the email indicates the new terms of service will become effective on March 14th. 

That’s when the password-sharing ban starts then. Here’s what Hulu said in the agreement revisions, according to THR:

Unless otherwise permitted by your Service Tier, you may not share your subscription outside of your household. ‘Household’ means the collection of devices associated with your primary personal residence that are used by the individuals who reside therein.

In our sole discretion, we may analyze your account’s use to determine compliance with this Agreement. If we determine, in our sole discretion, that you have violated this Agreement, we may limit or terminate access to the Service and/or take any other steps as permitted by this Agreement.

How will Hulu actually prevent password-sharing? We don’t know. It might resort to a process similar to Netflix. If you’re sharing Netflix passwords outside the home, then you’re familiar with the potentially frequent interruptions of service where Netflix asks you to verify the location in a given time.

Netflix also nudges users who share passwords towards adding Extra Members. Another suggestion is for the person outside the household (therefore, a different location) to create a brand new account and migrate their existing profile to the new property. 

I would expect Hulu and Disney Plus to operate similarly, albeit Disney has yet to address it. I expect Disney Plus and Hulu to use identical approaches to prevent password-sharing since they’re both owned by Disney. Not to mention that some customers might have bought bundles covering both streaming options. Also, Disney has a streaming app in testing that covers both Disney Plus and Hulu.

Come March 14th, we might learn more details about Disney’s password-sharing ban plans for Hulu.

Chris Smith Senior Writer

Chris Smith has been covering consumer electronics ever since the iPhone revolutionized the industry in 2008. When he’s not writing about the most recent tech news for BGR, he brings his entertainment expertise to Marvel’s Cinematic Universe and other blockbuster franchises.

Outside of work, you’ll catch him streaming almost every new movie and TV show release as soon as it's available.