According to two sources with firsthand information, Walt Disney's India streaming service intends to begin enforcing a rule limiting premium subscribers' ability to log in from more than four devices to reduce password sharing in a crucial market.
Disney's strategy comes as Netflix, a streaming competitor, began informing its users in more than 100 countries in May that they would have to pay more to share their subscriptions with individuals outside their homes.
Even though the Disney+ Hotstar streaming service's website now states that the "number of devices that can be logged in" is four, premium accounts in India still permit logins on up to ten different devices.
According to the first person, Disney+ Hotstar has conducted internal testing of the policy's implementation and intends to begin doing so later this year by capping the number of login attempts per account at four.
With the new restrictions, the source claimed that some people will be encouraged to purchase" their own subscriptions.
Disney declined to comment.
The source noted that Disney had hoped that lax enforcement of the four-device login policy would draw users who could initially access the site through password sharing before finally purchasing their subscriptions.
According to Media Partners Asia, the market for the industry in India is expected to reach $7 billion (approximately Rs. 57,530 crores) by 2027. This includes Disney, Netflix, Amazon, and billionaire Mukesh Ambani's JioCinema.
According to industry statistics, Hotstar has a user base of almost 50 million, making it the market leader.
According to the second source, Disney+ Hotstar in India did not impose the four-device login restriction since it did not want to inconvenience its premium subscribers and had discovered internally that only about 5% of them signed in from more than four devices.
According to the second source, the new proposed restriction would also apply to the company's less expensive plan, which will restrict usage to two devices.
According to research firm Media Partners Asia data, Disney's Hotstar led the Indian streaming market between January 2022 and March 2023 with a 38 percent viewership share, while competitors Netflix and Prime Video each held 5 percent.
According to a source with direct information, Walt Disney is engaged in preliminary internal discussions about alternatives to sell or find a joint venture partner for its India digital and TV company.