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Disney+ may not be the Netflix killer everyone thought it would be

Published Feb 26th, 2020 7:05PM EST
Disney Plus Vs Netflix
Image: Disney

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While most everyone anticipated that Disney+ would be popular, the extent of the streaming service’s success even caught a few Disney executives off guard. Bolstered by a huge catalog of familiar and beloved content, along with new programming like The Mandalorian, Disney+ struck like a lightning bolt when it initially launched in early November.

To this point, Disney+, just two weeks after launch, had already amassed an estimated 15 million subscribers. Most recently, former Disney CEO Bob Iger disclosed during an earnings conference call that the Disney+ subscriber total had eclipsed 28.6 million. Those figures are beyond impressive and prompted many to posit that Disney+ could prove to be a serious threat to Netflix’s ongoing streaming domination.

A new report from DecisionData, however, relays that interest in Disney+ may be waning a bit. Specifically, the report notes that Disney+ search engine traffic, media stories, and brand name mentions across social media have fallen drastically.

The report notes the following:

  • We have found in our research that search interest for Disney+ has plummeted over 80% in the past two months.
  • Netflix search interest has remained steady, even seeing a small increase following the Disney+ launch.
  • It is being reported that trends on social media have turned negative for Disney+, with increases in the number of people claiming to cancel their subscriptions.
  • A substantial number (at least 20%) of Disney+’s reported new signups are from partnership agreements that include free trials (Verizon offering their customers one free year of the streaming service).

It’s an interesting report, to be sure, but we’ll likely have to wait until Disney’s next earnings report to more properly gauge the supposed decline of interest in Disney+.

Indeed, it is perhaps possible that everyone interested in Disney+ is already a subscriber and that user growth may come to a standstill over the next few months. That said, Disney, in an effort to attract new subscribers and to keep existing subscribers from jumping ship, will have to make a big effort at rolling out new and compelling content. The success of The Mandalorian was a great start, but the company will need a few more original programming success stories to prove that it can keep its subscriber growth steady.

All told, I don’t think Disney+ will prove to be a huge threat to Netflix because both services are relatively affordable. In other words, there’s no reason to believe that the success of Disney+ will have an adverse impact on Netflix’s ability to attract new subscribers and retain current subscribers.

Yoni Heisler Contributing Writer

Yoni Heisler has been writing about Apple and the tech industry at large with over 15 years of experience. A life long expert Mac user and Apple expert, his writing has appeared in Edible Apple, Network World, MacLife, Macworld UK, and TUAW.

When not analyzing the latest happenings with Apple, Yoni enjoys catching Improv shows in Chicago, playing soccer, and cultivating new TV show addictions.

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