Max is cracking down on password-sharing just like Netflix, Hulu, and Disney+ from Mashable

The days of being able to share a single streaming service account with your family and friends are quickly coming to an end.

Max, the Warner Bros. Discovery-owned streaming service formerly known as HBO Max, is the latest company to announce that it will be cracking down on accounts it suspects of password-sharing.

The news of Max’s password-sharing crackdown comes directly from Warner Bros. Discovery CEO JB Perrette while speaking at Morgan Stanley’s 2024 Technology, Media & Telecom Conference on Monday.

Max will begin informing password-sharing subscribers of the company’s new policy enforcement later this year with the intent to fully roll out paid sharing in 2025.

Streaming services are all cracking down on password-sharing

This news shouldn’t be all too surprising. Max is just the latest streaming service on the growing list of providers cracking down on password-sharing. Netflix was the first of the big streamers to end password-sharing last year. Disney followed suit just last month by prohibiting password-sharing in its policies for Disney+, Hulu, and ESPN+.

Password-sharing. as viewed by most of these streaming services, is typically defined as a paying subscriber allowing individuals outside of their household access to their account. Streamers typically provide plans which allow for multiple devices within a household to access content on a single paid account. However, allowing others outside the paying subscribers’ household to do so is quickly becoming against the rules across the industry.

Streaming services that have already instituted crackdowns have typically sent out emails warning users suspected of password-sharing. Netflix has rolled out add-on plans which allow subscribers to pay extra to add individuals outside of their household to their account. Disney’s streaming services have yet to provide such an offering to customers but plan to launch such a feature later this year.

The news comes as Max struggles to grow in the highly competitive streaming TV market. Warner Bros. Discovery made a highly controversial decision last year when it decided to drop the popular “HBO” brand in its streaming services name, turning HBO Max into just “Max.” At the end of 2023, the company announced that Max had 52 million subscribers, down more than two and a half million subscribers from the previous year.

However, the original shows on Max are among the most sought out. HBO’s Game of Thrones, House of the Dragon, and The Last of Us have topped the most-pirated show lists over the year.

While Max’s decision to put a stop to password-sharing may be unpopular among users who are, well, sharing passwords, it’s proven to be successful for other streaming services. Netflix saw tens of thousands of new signups in just the two days immediately after it cracked down on the practice. By the end of that quarter, Netflix added 8.8 million new subscribers, significantly more than the 2.4 million new subscribers it saw the previous quarter when users could still share their passwords.

We’ll soon see if Max is just as successful with its own password-sharing crackdown.

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