Disney CEO Addresses Disney+ Password Sharing and Piracy Concerns

The Walt Disney Company CEO Bob Iger says the company will be “mindful” of piracy and password sharing concerns when it launches its first direct-to-consumer streaming service Disney+ on Nov. 12. Asked about Netflix co-founder Reed Hastings, who previously credited piracy with helping the streaming giant succeed, Iger said piracy is “obviously something we have to watch.” Despite an admission from Netflix product chief Greg Peters during the streamer’s quarterly call in October that Netflix would be looking into “consumer-friendly” ways to crack down on subscribers sharing login information — a practice that costs the company upwards of $1.5 billion annually — Iger sounds less concerned about password sharing, pointing to consumers’ ability to stream on four devices concurrently.

“I think it’ll be similar to what others are doing. It’s obviously something we’ll be mindful of,” Iger told CNBC when asked about Disney’s approach to streaming piracy and password sharing. “We’re setting up a service that is very family friendly, we expect families to be able to consume it — four live streams at a time, for instance. We’ll watch it carefully with the various tools, technology tools, that we have available to us to monitor it. But it’s obviously something we have to watch.”

During Disney’s fourth quarter earnings call on Thursday, where Iger said Disney+ was proving to be a four quadrant product with broad interest, Iger reported the four-stream feature was “very popular” among consumers when Disney+ was tested in the Netherlands.

“We also saw that people’s interest in the product itself was very, very broad meaning across all of the brands,” Iger said on the call, pointing to the streaming service’s five main brands: Disney, Pixar, Marvel, Star Wars and National Geographic.

“We learned that some of the features, including the 4K, the HDR movies were very, very popular,” Iger added. “The fact that you can have four concurrent live streams was very popular, the personalization was also quite popular, and most importantly, the ability to download without restriction was very, very popular.”

According to “extremely positive” user feedback from the Netherlands’ test run, users were particularly pleased with the elegance and ease of the interface, as well as the quality of the overall experience, Iger said.

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“There were a few things, not just the fact that there was an enthusiasm for the service, but we had a good sense about how people were using it and what people were using it,” Iger noted on the call. “The demographics were far broader than a lot of people expected them to be. This is well beyond kids and family, clearly. This is a four quadrant product, with adult men and women as well as kids families watching or using the service.”

Disney+ launches in the US Nov. 12.