Max is getting in on the big streaming password crackdown

Warner Bros. Discovery’s CEO, David Zaslav.
Image: Warner Bros. Discovery

Wired reports that Warner Bros. Discovery (WBD) is gearing up to implement a new set of restrictions designed to prevent subscribers from sharing their passwords with people who aren’t paying for the service themselves. Speaking at Morgan Stanley’s Technology, Media & Telecom conference on Monday, WBD head of global streaming and games JB Perrette said that the company plans to launch its crackdown some time in late 2024.

“We’re launching in a bunch of European markets as we go into the second and third quarter,” Perette said. “And password sharing crack down, which, obviously, Netflix has implemented extremely successfully. We’re going to be doing that starting later this year and into ‘25, which is another growth opportunity for us.”

Max’s decision comes just weeks after Disney Plus and Hulu both updated their terms of service to ban users from sharing login credentials with people living outside of their households. Those moves came in response to Netflix rolling out new password sharing restrictions in 2023 in an effort to combat its stalling signup rate — an issue many platforms are now facing as the streaming wars mature. Max’s password crackdown is likely going to lead to more than a few new signups, which might please shareholders in the short term. But between WBD’s other recent ham-fisted attempts at getting its finances straight, and the fact that the streaming space as a whole is feeling increasingly hostile toward consumers, this next crackdown could just as easily become the sort of thing that drives some customers away.