Disney+ Takes Steps to Ban Shared Accounts, Following Netflix’s Lead
In a move that mirrors Netflix’s recent decision, Disney+ is preparing to ban shared accounts. Although no official communication has been made, it appears that Disney+ is following suit with its competitor.
Goodbye to GroupWatch
Disney+ subscribers will now have to bid farewell to one of its most distinctive features – GroupWatch. This functionality, which allowed users to have a group viewing experience, automatically synchronized the broadcast so that all members could watch the same content simultaneously, even when they were apart. However, GroupWatch had several restrictions, including the need for all participants to have an active Disney+ subscription on an ad-free plan and be in the same country/region.
Despite the pandemic ending, GroupWatch remained available on the platform until recently. The removal of the feature was discovered through chat support messages with customers who believed it to be an error. Additionally, any mention of GroupWatch was removed from the Disney+ website, and the official GroupWatch page now redirects to the main Disney+ page. The GroupWatch icon was also removed from App Store images earlier this month.
This move by Disney+ aligns with their previous threat to end shared accounts, similar to Netflix’s approach. It remains unclear how widely GroupWatch was used on Disney+, and with people returning to their normal lives, it is possible that the feature was not utilized enough to justify its maintenance.
The End of Shared Accounts Approaches
Last August, Disney CEO Bob Iger announced that the company would take action against password sharing starting in 2024. While the technical capacity to address this issue already exists, the company will begin actively studying its options next year.
Disney’s decision follows in the footsteps of Netflix, which implemented measures to prevent password sharing on its platform. Surprisingly, Netflix’s move resulted in an increase in global subscriptions rather than a backlash.
Furthermore, Disney+ is set to face a price increase once the current promotional offer ends. The plan with Disney+ ads will be available for 5.99 euros starting from November 1, three euros less than the current monthly plan without ads. The “Basic without ads” plan, priced at 8.99 euros per month or 89.90 euros per year, allows for two simultaneous plays, Full HD resolution, downloads, 5.1 audio, and stereo. The new Premium plan, priced at 11.99 euros per month or 119.90 euros per year, will offer exclusive access to 4K UHD/HDR video, four simultaneous playbacks, downloads, and Dolby Atmos audio.
As Disney+ follows Netflix’s lead in banning shared accounts, it remains to be seen how this decision will impact the streaming landscape and subscriber behavior.