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CandW discuss if Disney+ is enough to reach 90M subs

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This week Disney+ finally released. We discuss if it lives up to expectations, what to make of the claim of 10M activations, and if it’s enough to reach Disney’s 90M subscriber target by 2024.

Chapter 1: Disney+ launch was a success (1:10)

Will is very impressed with the Disney+ release. He describes the experience and explains why he thinks it ticks all the boxes. He also says why he thinks families will be significant users of the service. I mentioned that one analyst was estimating Disney+ would have 100million subscribers by 2024. Will believes the estimates are complete guesswork.

Chapter 2: Families are core users of the service (8:00)

The service is architected well for families with smaller children. Being able to create child profiles allows parents to provide a quality, safe environment that their children can explore unsupervised. However, though the download facility is solid, it lacks at least one kid-friendly feature.

Will thinks that shrewd marketing is required for the service to go on to be a success. I believe that won’t be enough. The company needs to deliver a lot original content every week. The company needs to guarantee there is something new and exciting to watch time a subscriber fires up the service.

The bundle of Disney+, basic Hulu, and ESPN+ can make up for the lack of new daily content inside Disney+ alone. Hulu is tapping into the daily episodes provided broadcast television.

Chapter 3: Why they could high churn with the service (12:40)

The nature of Disney’s business is that it releases tentpole movies under a variety of studio labels and very different content genres. A viewer joining to see a Marvel movie may cancel because they are not attracted to a new release from Pixar delivering in the next month. In other words, churn could be quite high for the service. Will thinks the deep library available in the service will be enough to keep many people committed to the service over the long term. I question the ability of the Disney library to substitute for new content.

Chapter 4: How do we measure success? (19:40)

With so many free offers for Disney+ and services like HBO Max, it is going to be very difficult to judge how successful the services are. We may not have good visibility on the real subscriber numbers for Disney+, HBO Max, or Apple TV+ until the free offers end, which could take a year or more.


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