Hulu Cracks Down on Account Sharing

Following the success of Netflix's password-sharing crackdown, Hulu has announced it will no longer allow account sharing outside the subscribing household. Disney, which now owns Hulu, has also changed the Disney+ terms to prohibit sharing an account. Disney notified current subscribers of the new policy by email at the end of January. The Hulu rule officially took effect March 14th.

Subscribers who signed up after January 25th, 2024, could not share their accounts from day one. All others were given the March 14th deadline.

The new agreement states: "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… Additional usage rules may apply for certain Service Tiers. For more details on our account sharing policy, please visit our Help Center."

Curious about the "certain Service Tiers," I visited the Hulu help center to find out which tiers might allow for account sharing. Hulu's help chat connects to a live agent available 24/7. The official answer is that no plans allow for account sharing at this time.

The respective subscriber agreements ominously warn that Hulu and Disney+ may, "in our sole discretion, analyze the use of your account 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 other steps." It goes on to say you are responsible for knowing who is using your account.

Disney CFO Hugh Johnston told that users who are suspected of "improper sharing" will see a pop-up to sign up for their own subscription. Johnston went on to say that later this year, Disney will allow account holders to share with others for an additional fee but gave no further details of when or how much it will cost.

Still, an informal survey of some account sharers indicates that the notifications or pop-ups have yet to appear.

Subscribers who are traveling can access their Hulu or Disney+ account via a computer web browser (it's best to use Google Chrome on a Mac) or on their phone. There are no limitations for streaming to a computer or phone.

However, you can't log-in to your account on a streaming device or TV when you are outside your home. Although you can't stream directly to a device like a Chromecast or Apple TV, you can cast to the device from a phone or compatible computer or use Apple’s AirPlay.

Disney is hoping to be as successful as Netflix, which added over 8 million subscribers in November 2023 after its password-sharing crackdown. Many of those Netflix subscribers had been using another account and were offered an add-on subscription for $8 per month. Still, how will Hulu and Disney+ fare when they cut off subscribers without offering a cheap alternative to stay on?

Expect other streaming services to follow as they grasp at straws to become profitable. Max (formerly HBO Max in the U.S.) may be the next streaming service to ban password-sharing. JB Perrette, CEO and President of Global Streaming for Warner Bros. Discover, was quoted on as saying he sees a password-sharing crackdown as a "growth opportunity."

tommison1's picture

These measures aim to ensure that only authorized users within a household have access to the streaming services, cracking down on password-sharing practices. slope game