Charter, Disney could be mounting an anti-password-sharing crusade

TV watching
Charter CEO Tom Rutledge has a long history of railing against password sharing and a possible lack of content security for TV Everywhere and direct-to-consumer apps. (StockSnap/CCO)

When Charter and Disney earlier this week announced their new carriage agreement, they included news about cooperatively working against video piracy, which could mean more aggressively targeting password sharing.

The two companies said they will work together on “piracy mitigation” and implement business rules and techniques to address such issues as unauthorized access and password sharing. The companies didn’t go into further detail, but as Fast Company points out, a report from years ago could offer clues into the companies’ plans.

According to Bloomberg, Charter during contract negotiations was encouraging programmers to limit concurrent streams and to force pay TV subscribers to log in more often. The report also portrayed Disney as an ally in the fight against password sharing.

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RELATED: Charter CEO Tom Rutledge says programmers didn't secure content when going DTC

Charter CEO Tom Rutledge has a long history of railing against password sharing and a possible lack of content security for TV Everywhere and direct-to-consumer apps.

"A lot of the TV Everywhere product and other product available online is not secured well," said Rutledge during a company earnings call in 2015. "You have people joking about sharing passwords on authentication on Emmy award shows. That's a real issue."

During Charter’s earnings call last month, Rutledge reiterated his beliefs that while there is still consumer value in the service bundle, video is no longer a standalone business.

“The problem with the bundle of video today is that the content companies that supply it have essentially put their service for free, available everywhere, through TV Everywhere and excessive streams and password sharing and free over-the-air television, which can be received through antennas, all of which are unencrypted and essentially free. And it’s hard to compete with free,” said Rutledge, according to a Seeking Alpha transcript.

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