With most of America’s families holed up at home for the foreseeable future thanks to Coronavirus, the existence of Disney+ has been nothing short of a godsend.
The long-in-the-works streaming service, which offers everything from Disney animated classics to the Star Wars, Marvel and Pixar canons to original programming, launched last November. And a new study indicates that, even prior to the national quarantine, the streaming service made massive inroads in its initial months.
According to a study released last week by the British research firm Ampere Analysis, as cited by Deadline, up to 50 percent of Internet-connected U.S. families with children under ten have subscribed to Disney+. The service, per Ampere, has also managed to get 41 percent of 18-to-24-year-olds to subscribe.
“The latest figures from our consumer media tracker indicate a very promising start for Disney+, with success in converting its two most important target audiences,” Mina Modha, the firm’s consumer research lead, told Deadline. “It will now be key for Disney to ensure it retains these customers with a mix of new Disney+ originals and new release movie titles.”
Disney+ launched less than five months ago, but in that time it’s already debuted the biggest hit series-the Star Wars-tied The Mandalorian – from any of the latest generation of streaming services. And while Ampere did not release subscription figures- and likely doesn’t have them anyway-Disney announced in its early February earnings report that Disney+ had notched more than 28 million subscribers.
The Ampere survey appears to have been taken mostly prior to the quarantines, which can only have encouraged additional subscriptions. And Disney has made moves to encourage such subscriptions: It released last year’s Disney animated hit Frozen II on Disney+ three months ahead of schedule, and on April 4, it will debut Onward, the Pixar film that opened in theaters only on March 6.
The Onward move, which also included an early VOD release last Friday, follows several other Hollywood studios putting recent or planned theatrical releases on streaming or on-demand platforms in coincide with the quarantines.
Universal announced March 16 that it was planning VOD releases for its recent theatrical movies Invisible Man and The Hunt, and that it was moving the April animated release Trolls World Tour to VOD platforms. And Paramount said last week that its April comedy The Lovebirds would instead debut on Netflix, although a release date was not announced.
The only recent downbeat news for Disney+ came Saturday, when the company announced that it will delay its launch in France until April 7. Disney joined several other companies in acceding to a request from the European Union to reduce its bandwidth utilization in the territory.
Stephen Silver is a technology writer for the National Interest.