It sounds goofy, but this Thursday is a big day for Disney Plus
Last November, Disney launched its video streaming service Disney+. With content from Disney, Pixar, Marvel, StarWars and National Geographic, there is something for everyone. Breaking down the content even more, you'll find Disney animated classics, hit shows from the Disney Channel, live-action theatrical releases and much more. While the entertainment giant isn't known for its affordable pricing, Disney+ is priced at only $6.99 per month or $69.99 on an annual basis. Up to four people can stream at one time. A bundle that includes Disney+, sports streamer ESPN+, and Hulu is available for a monthly payment of $12.99.
Disney+ got off to a great start, and by August 4th the company reported that it had signed up 60.5 million paid subscribers putting the service on a fast track. Originally, Disney planned on having 60 to 90 million paid subscribers by 2024 so it was signing up subscribers at a rate that was four years ahead of its projections.
Last month Disney announced that it is restructuring its media and entertainment divisions in order to focus on growing its streaming platform. Obviously, Disney+ is becoming increasingly important to the company, especially in light of the pandemic. For example, the streamer was able to gather some revenue by working out a deal to debut a filmed version of the hit Broadway Hamilton on Disney+. In addition, the Pixal movie Soul, originally scheduled to open in theaters on November 20th, will instead debut on the streamer starting on December 25th. Getting crowds back into movie theaters is a tough task and since Disney owns its own distribution platform, keeping theaters closed might not be as fatal to them as it might be to other filmmakers.
This coming Thursday, November 12th, we will get a big test about how popular the service is with the public. That is when those Verizon subscribers first given a free year of Disney+ as part of an ongoing promotion will need to cancel it or start paying monthly. So the million dollar question is whether those getting the service for free feel that it is worth paying for. Will we see Disney continue to grow subscribers at a Herculean rate or will the number of subscribers drop off? Actually, we might hear what the company is expecting on November 12th when it next reports its quarterly earnings. And the earnings report after that one, which will be released sometime in March 2021, could show us in numbers whether Verizon subscribers are deciding to subscribe to Disney+ or choosing to let it go.