Bob Iger, chairman and chief executive officer of The Walt Disney Co.
Patrick T. Fallon | Bloomberg | Getty Images
With a little more than two months before the debut of its streaming service, Disney dazzled its hardcore fans with celebrity guests and teaser trailers over the weekend at its D23 Expo.
The company showcased a number of programs it had previously announced, like “Lady and the Tramp,” “WandaVision” and “The World According to Jeff Goldblum,” as well as a number of shriek-inducing reveals like three more Marvel shows and an Obi-Wan Kenobi show.
“Bob Iger always said that Disney+ is his top priority for 2019,” Peter Csathy, founder and chairman of Creatv Media, said. “He has kicked his entire global multi-tentacled marketing machine into gear to demonstrate just how serious he is. Yet another reason for Netflix shareholders to duck, cover and hold. “
If the crowd at the Disney+ panel on Friday was any indication of consumer interest, Disney will have no trouble getting people to sign up for its service. The company offered attendees at this year’s D23 a special offer for signing up at the convention — $23 off each year when they sign up for a three-year deal.
It’s unclear how many D23 attendees signed up for the service, but kiosks in the Anaheim Convention Center were packed throughout the three-day event. Disney did not immediately respond to CNBC’s request for comment.
Wedbush’s Michael Pachter noted that there are currently 60 million Netflix subscribers in the U.S. and that around 75% of those users are above median income. For these subscribers, it’s easy to spend the money to add another service to their roster.
Pachter said he expects Disney to add between 10 million and 15 million subscribers to its service each year until they reach around 45 million. Other analysts foresee a faster sign-up rate because of Disney+’s cheap cost.
On its own Disney+ will cost users $6.99 a month, or $69.99 for a full year, but together with ESPN+ and ad-supported Hulu, customers will shell out just $12.99 per month for the bundle.
“It’s their package deal that really has people talking and truly sets them apart from other streaming competition,” Jeff Bock, senior box office analyst at Exhibitor Relations, said. “I mean, that’s a slam dunk, that’s a no-brainer. Just take our collective debit cards and charge them as you see fit. And that price point is perfection.”
Of course, Disney+ isn’t an instant Netflix-killer. Most entertainment junkies will simply add the service to their collection of streaming platforms. It’s possible down the line, however, if prices shift that subscribers may begin to drop services in favor of others.
And it doesn’t hurt that Disney will have new content and old favorites from each of its mega-brands as well as the newly acquired Fox, Paul Dergarabedian, senior media analyst at Comscore said.
“Disney+ is poised for a massive launch in November,” he said. “For any streaming service content is king and a series like ‘The Mandalorian’ is just the type of eye candy to entice the early adopters who were lined up at D23 to purchase the service a full three months before launch.”