HBO Max Gives Update on Password Sharing Amid Netflix's Crackdown

Netflix may be preparing to "shut down" password sharing on its platform, but at least one streaming service isn't looking to crack down on subscribers sharing their passwords. On a call with analysts following AT&T's latest earnings, AT&T CEO John Stankey confirmed that a crackdown on password sharing isn't coming to HBO Max, and that's all because the streamer already has features built in that prevent the sharing of accounts.

Addressing the topic, which has dominated conversations surrounding streaming services ever since Netflix revealed earlier this week plans to limit password sharing, Stankey shared, per Deadline, that while "we were thoughtful about how we built the product and that we gave customers enough flexibility but we don't want to see rampant abuse." Stankey went on to state that products and features were built in "consistent with the user agreement that has terms and conditions of how they can and can't use the service, and we have enforced it." For example, HBO Max's help center states that while members within a household can sign into a single account and stream on various devices, a subscriber's "account email and password should not be shared with anyone outside your household." HBO Max also limits the number of simultaneous streams.

With millions of subscribers, Stankey added that "we actively in any given month are looking at how any give users are using the product," something that he said he believes to be "the right way for the industry to be managed." Looking to the future, Stankey said he believes "some are going to adjust practices over time" in order to handle password sharing.

Stankey addressed the problem of password sharing as HBO Max hit nearly 77 million subscribers in the quarter, up nearly 3 million from the year before. The same cannot be said for Netflix, which actually saw a downtick in subscribers. In its first-quarter 2022 earnings release Tuesday, the company revealed it lost 200,000 subscribers in Q1 and expects to lose another 2 million in the current second quarter of the year. While Netflix provided various possibilities for the subscriber loss, the company estimated that in addition to the nearly 222 million paying households, "over 100 million additional households" worldwide are using shared Netflix accounts. The large number of unpaying customers, the company said, means it is more difficult for the company to "grow membership in many markets." As a result, Netflix said it is looking to begin cracking down on account sharing across the globe, something the company called a "big opportunity." Amid the rampant password sharing, Netflix has already begun testing new features in select markets to address the matter.