10m subscribers sign up for Disney+ on first day alone
Walt Disney Co’s new streaming television service Disney+ got off to a roaring start by signing up 10 million subscribers on its first day, the company announced on Wednesday.
Disney said in a statement that it “sees extraordinary demand” for “the highly anticipated streaming service.”
The launch of Disney+ is a major step for the US entertainment giant to be a leading player in the streaming arena, intensifying competition with digital powerhouses like Netflix and Amazon.
Combined with Disney’s other streaming businesses — Hulu, which has 26.8 million subscribers, and ESPN+, which serves 3.5 million subscribers — the company now serves 40.3 million viewers in the United States, compared with about 60 million for Netflix.
Disney+ is the dedicated streaming home for movies and shows from Disney, Pixar, Marvel, Star Wars, National Geographic and more, together, for the first time.
Consumers in the US also have the opportunity to purchase a Disney bundle featuring Disney+, Hulu and ESPN+ for US$12.99 per month.
Disney+’s US$6.99 monthly fee is only nearly half of Netflix’s standard US$12.99 plan and lower than Amazon Prime Video’s.
Disney+ experienced some technical glitches on its debut day, however, the company attributed the issues to excessive expectations caused by overwhelming consumer demand.
“The launch of Disney+ is a historic moment for our company that marks a new era of innovation and creativity,” said Robert A Iger, chairman and chief executive officer of the Walt Disney Company in a statement on Tuesday.
Although the number of sign-ups were more than three times the size of some forecasts, it was not clear how many of these new customers were from free promotions.
In October, Disney and telecom provider Verizon Communications Inc announced a promotion that made all new and existing Verizon unlimited wireless customers, as well as new Fios and 5G home internet customers, eligible for a free, one-year subscription to Disney+.