The days of sharing your streaming passwords with other people are numbered. Streaming services like Netflix have already kicked off plans to crackdown on password sharing, and now Disney-owned Hulu is following that example.
Hulu has just updated its terms of service with an explicit ban on password sharing that will come into force from March 14 this year. It also confirms that passwords may only be shared with people in the same household, which is defined as whoever lives in your “primary personal residence." So like Netflix, your Hulu account should only be used by people who live with you.
The terms also note that Hulu may analyze the use of your account to “determine compliance with this agreement." If you’re caught breaking the rules, the streamer then reserves the right to either terminate your account “and/or take any other steps as permitted by this Agreement.”
It’s unlikely that Hulu will cancel your subscription for a first time offense, since you are still a paying customer. I’d wager that you’ll be given at least one warning to cut it out before more drastic measures are taken. Which could mean cutting you off, or asking for more money — just like Netflix did.
The terms do say that the crackdown only applies “unless otherwise permitted by your Service tier." That suggests Hulu may introduce a premium tier that allows password sharing in the near future. Or it could copy Netflix and give flagged accounts the option lets you continue sharing with an additional household in exchange for more money.
Netflix charges $8 a month for this, which is just over half the price of an individual ad-free Standard subscription — but also slightly more than the ad-supported tier. If Hulu were to follow the same logic, account sharers could be asked to pay an extra $9-$10 each month.
But that’s just speculation on my part, since there’s no guarantee Hulu will copy Netflix’s tactics. Disney Plus started its own password sharing crackdown last year, and so far there’s no sign of it giving users a legitimate way to share accounts by paying more.
We can expect both Disney Plus and Hulu to treat this situation in a similar manner. Not only does Disney own 67%, it’s also set to acquire the final 33% from Comcast before the end of the year.
In any case, if you are in possession of a shared Hulu account, just know that you’re on borrowed time. Because you’ve only got about 6 weeks before things start to change.
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Tom is the Tom's Guide's UK Phones Editor, tackling the latest smartphone news and vocally expressing his opinions about upcoming features or changes. It's long way from his days as editor of Gizmodo UK, when pretty much everything was on the table. He’s usually found trying to squeeze another giant Lego set onto the shelf, draining very large cups of coffee, or complaining about how terrible his Smart TV is.