Disney+, the media giant’s streaming service currently on track for its November 12 launch, is obviously going to be a big deal. Including Star Wars, Marvel, and National Geographic content on top of traditional Disney movies and all of the company’s other imprints, it’s going to represent a significant proportion of all streaming content available online right from Day One. Disney plants to bundle it with Hulu and ESPN+ for early subscribers, making it a solid replacement for cable or other streaming services.
Investment bank UBS did a study in mid-August 2019, which found that 43 percent of surveyed Americans intend to subscribe to Disney+ as soon as it becomes available. That is nearly double Disney’s internal predictions from last April, which predicted just over 20 percent of U.S. households with internet access would be subscribed by its five-year-mark in 2024.
Of the 43 percent who say they plan to subscribe, 57 percent of those would cancel at least one other service. Pay TV, at 37 percent, was the most likely to be cut, followed by other video services at 33 percent. The least likely video services to be cut seem to be premium networks like HBO or Showtime, at 19 percent.
Globally, Disney expects between 60 and 90 million subscribers. For comparison, Netflix currently has 152 million accounts, but Disney intends to scoop up as many of those as they can. Disney been pulling its own content off the Netflix platform for years.
D23, Disney’s own entertainment expo, which happened August 23-25, just after the release of the survey, marked the beginning of the company’s intensive ramp-up campaign leading to the launch. Deals, advertisements, and info releases will be a regular occurrence from now until that mid-November date. Already, we’ve learned that Disney+ intends to step slightly away from the “binge” model of Netflix and Amazon Prime; instead of releasing seasons all at once as a unit, they’ll revert to the weekly releases of television and Hulu.
Another interesting detail from UBS’s survey might be the stumbling block for all of D+’s promise: 87 percent of those surveyed said that they were firmly unwilling to pay for more than three subscription video services at a time, and Disney+ is a latecomer to this market. Perhaps being paired with popular Hulu will help it breach that potential barrier.
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