Disney+ Subscription Interest Outpacing Initial Company Targets, Report Finds


The number of American customers intending to subscribe to Disney+, the streaming service launching November 12, means its rollout will exceed company projections, a new study by UBS has found.

Once they subscribe, 57% of new customers plan to cancel at least one other subscription service, with pay-TV bundles most likely to get cut, the financial institution said.

The UBS “Evidence Lab,” which publishes regular research on consumer habits across industry sectors, found that 43% of the 1,000 U.S. consumers surveyed in mid-August said they plan to subscribe to Disney+. That puts it ahead of Disney’s internal forecasts, offered last April, of 20 million to 30 million U.S. subscribers by 2024, or 20% to 30% of all U.S. broadband households.

On a global basis, Disney predicts it will have 60 million to 90 million total subscribers. While that’s far below Netflix’s current tally of 152 million, the streaming space is growing more competitive. Apple, WarnerMedia and NBCUniversal will also have major launches in coming months, and Disney has bundled Hulu (which it now controls) with Disney+ and ESPN+ as an extra way to drive subscriptions.

Importantly, UBS noted, the survey was taken before last weekend’s D23 Expo in Anaheim. The company used D23 as the start of a months-long marketing blitz for Disney+, offering attendees steep discounts on the service, setting up kiosks to allow new subscribers to fork over credit-card information. The UBS report said D23 “serves as a benchmark for judging marketing effectiveness in future surveys.”

UBS has a “buy” rating on Disney stock, with a 12-month price target of $165 a share. On Wednesday, Disney shares closed at $136.55, up 1.5%.

About 79% of all survey respondents said they had heard of Disney+. Another strong majority of all respondents — 67% — said they would likely add Disney+ without eliminating any of their current video services.

Of the 43% indicating intent to subscribe, though, 57% said they would cancel at least one other service. Pay-TV, at 37%, was cited as the most likely to be cut, with 33% indicating other video services and, interestingly, only 19% flagging premium linear networks like HBO or Showtime.

In June, a separate UBS report found that only 13% of survey participants were willing to pay for more than three subscription OTT video services at one time. Three services at a time has become a rule of thumb in the streaming derby. If it holds true, it will raise the stakes for other new entrants like HBO Max and Apple TV+. Unlike traditional TV carriage, direct-to-consumer services do not come with long-term contracts, leaving them subject to sudden upswings and downswings in subscriber levels, activity known in the industry as “churn.”

This article was printed from https://deadline.com/2019/08/disney-subscription-interest-outpacing-initial-company-targets-report-finds-1202706504/