This week saw the much anticipated launch of Disney+, the studio’s own streaming service. There has been overwhelming excitement from Disney fans (that includes Marvel and Star Wars) for quite some time. Yet, there has been even more speculation from industry experts on just how big the mouse house could be. On November 12th, Disney’s virtual floodgates opened across North America and The Netherlands, and once again Disney have smashed through even the most ambitious of estimations.
24 hours after launch, reports came in of a staggering 10 million sign-ups. To put that in perspective, the market leader Netflix which has until recently stood alone, has amassed 150 million sign-ups across their 22 year history. Bob Iger (Disney’s CEO), recently estimated 30 million sign-ups in the US by 2024, a now deeply conservative number.
It can be hard to really put these figures into perspective, different platforms are providing different incentives for people to sign-up. Apple are offering Apple TV+ free for one year when you buy an iPhone, and Amazon Prime is included when you simply want next day delivery. Signing up for a service is very different to actually engaging with it.
Netflix may not be concerned, their spot at number 1 doesn’t look to be taken any time soon, but perhaps they should be feeling the pressure. The content which falls under the Disney+’s virtual umbrella is, to say the least, impressive. Fox, Marvel, Star Wars, The Simpsons, Pixar, National Geographic, among others. That also leaves out Hulu and ESPN if you buy the Disney+ package, which is valued the same as Netflix’s monthly few (the basic Disney+ package being a hard to beat $5.99).
From Netflix’s perspective, this could be the changing of the tide, with HBOmax, Peacock (ABC), Britbox, and more all on the horizon. Many of these services will succeed and some will inevitably fail, but what does this mean for the consumer? While Disney+ is temptingly cheap, the combined costs of owning multiple services can build up quickly. Continued innovation, consistent exclusive content and consumer driven affordability will be key for survival in the dawning streaming wars.
Yet, when it comes to Disney’s new service, we in the UK may have to wait a little longer for it to arrive (March 31st). After seeing its success after this first launch phase, hearing about the content and knowing the price, will you be signing up?