November was a turning point for the streaming wars with two new big-name entrants from Disney and Apple joining the big three – Netflix, Amazon Prime and Hulu – in an effort to gain your subscription. And, 2020 is bringing even more players onto the field.
Disney lovers make for loyal fans as shown in a new survey by IMA Research. In the first five days following its November 12 launch date, Disney+ garnered more than 15 million subscribers beating out Apple TV+ even though the latter launched on November 1 with a slew of A-listers starring in its shows.
In addition to the nostalgia factor, the research points to a few specific reasons for the success of Disney+, including the new streamer’s free promotion, which was a key subscription factor. In addition, awareness for the Disney brand in conjunction with early adoption of the service exceeded those of Apple TV+, which estimated 1.1 million subscribers.
IMA Research studies streaming services viewership and according to this survey of 1,097 U.S. consumers between November 14 and 17, it was found that awareness of Disney+ is extremely strong with 63% of respondents (68% women and 61% men) knowledgeable of Disney+ versus Apple TV’s 34%.
Awareness tended to correspond inversely to age, with 47% of those 25-34 years-old saying they intended to subscribe. This dropped to only 10% of those 65 and up. For every age group but the youngest, the percentage with subscription intent was higher than that of the next-older group. Intent among the youngest surveyed (between 18-24) came in above average at 34%.
For every age group but the oldest, the percentage aware was lower than that of the next-younger grouping. Awareness among those 65 and up rebounded to 62%, but that figure was still below the 63% average. In comparison, Apple only achieved 34% awareness overall.
Of those in the know, 28% planned on subscribing or had already subscribed, indicating subscription intent and 40% of those with plans to subscribe, or already signed-up, utilized a free promotion. Roughly 49% were not planning to subscribe while the remaining 23% weren’t sure. Apple TV+ achieved 10% subscription intent.
Almost half of those surveyed (47%) feel the $6.99 a month cost is fair, with 17% saying it’s a good deal and 11% saying it’s a great deal. Not everyone agreed with 25% saying it’s too expensive. Of respondents that have already subscribed, or have doing so on their to-do list, 24% would cancel an existing streaming or pay service in favor of Disney+.
Most of those with subscription intent (52%) or those still unsure (56%) feel $6.99 per month is a fair price. But a majority of those with no intent (58%) feel $6.99 per month is too expensive. Despite being able to get the service free, price still seems to be a factor for many.
When asked what the most attractive features on Disney+ are, 46% said the Disney/Pixar Catalog, 38% selected the Marvel/Star Wars/National Geographic Catalog, 26% answered it was the new original content drawing them in, 25% like the $6.99 price and 21% were attracted to promotions to try the service free.
The two new streamers are virtually ad-free but beyond that, these are two vastly different services. Apple TV+ launched with eight original, star-studded television series and one movie but no back catalog.
In comparison, Disney+’s new series were overshadowed by its enormous content offerings from Disney’s own decades-old vaults, as well as popular productions from Pixar, Star Wars, Marvel and National Geographic.
One new original Disney+ series, however, stands out from the pack. According to research by Parrot Analytics, The Mandalorian recently became the most in-demand series in the world.
For the seven days ending December 1, the Star Wars spinoff was 31.9 times more in-demand than the average title on a global basis, making it the No. 1 series in the world within its first three weeks.
How much growth might Disney+ experience? IMA Research calculates there are 128 million households that could potentially subscribe. This could yield upwards of 23 million households subscribing. Among those with intent, 69% said they had already subscribed, making the early adopters total over 15 million households.
Disney reported over 10 million sign-ups the day after launch and offered several promotions that lowered or eliminated the $6.99 monthly fee, including a universal seven-day free trial and a free year for certain Verizon customers.
IMA Research discovered 40% are watching, or will watch, through a free promotion. Of the various options, 35% will pay $6.99 monthly and 13% will pay $12.99 for a monthly bundle of Disney+, Hulu and ESPN+. Other consumers (12%) chose to pay a reduced annual fee of $69.99, which was reduced even further as a Cyber Monday promotion.
When IMA Research applies these numbers to the 23 million households with intent, Disney is estimated to generate $1.3 billion annually. If the breakdown applies to the 15+ million households who have already subscribed, Disney would generate $900 million annually. For Apple TV+, even if all the early adopters of 1.1 million households were paying $4.99 per month, they would only generate $66 million annually.
How will Disney+ impact Netflix, Amazon Prime and Hulu? It’s too early to predict whether Disney+ will steal significant market share from existing competitors but even if it does, Disney+ appears to be doing a good job so far of not cannibalizing itself.