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Is Sharing Really Caring When it Comes to Passwords?

Gettyimages | ROBYN BECK
By J. Atkin

Is there really ever too much of a good thing? Disney Plus launched yesterday to a little more attention than even the company ever dreamed of. Bugs, streaming issues, login problems, and general hysteria swamped the service almost as soon as it went live. That can, of course, happen when over 3.2 million applications are downloaded in the first day alone. That's a lot of eyes to keep focused no matter how much content you have to offer. The question of how many of those downloads were for paying users remains to be seen.

That's the question with any streaming service. How many paying customers are there and how many accounts simply share their passwords with family and friends? If you're not losing revenue odds are services let it slide, and it certainly increases view counts and word of mouth praise for original content. But, as Disney enters the fray people are wondering what the mega-company may do with shared passwords and streaming on multiple devices. Any service has to be careful, no family only owns a single screen anymore and if you bother people who are simply trying to watch what they paid for on their phone, or their spouse's phone, instead of their in-home television you're going to make a lot of enemies very very quickly.

For now, Disney is not harassing users, whether they are sharing their passwords with friends or not. Like Netflix, they limit how many devices can access the service at the same time. At the moment on Disney Plus (again similar to Netflix) you can have up to seven profiles, and users can download movies and TV on up to 10 different mobile devices. Subscribers to Disney Plus should be aware that they can only watch the service on four of those 10 devices at any one time. The company claims they will be keeping an eye on profit margins and, of course, any particularly strange behavior. Too many devices on a single account? Too many profiles in different regions of the country? Apparently the tech gods can, in fact, watch for these red flags and may, in future, have to take a stand. For the moment everyone seems happy with the initial demand and success of the platform. As soon as users (those who pay and those who share) are able to access their content without crashes or streaming issues, then the real investigating may begin. For now, users and management, just want everything to work as expected.

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