At Disney’s recent fan convention, the company offered up a three-year subscription to Disney+, its new streaming service set to launch in November.
The extended-length subscription provides a 33% discount to the regular price and is less than half the monthly cost of the cheapest plan on Netflix, (ref WSJ). Let the streaming wars begin. Disney limited the offer to the 7,000 attendees at the conference as well as the D23 fan club, but has said that it expects to have between 60 million and 90 million subscribers within five years – a far greater membership than Netflix achieved. Even without the substantial discount, Disney will be the cheapest streaming service, with Netflix standard the most expensive, followed by Hulu, YouTube, CBS. With Star Wars, Marvel, Pixar and the newly-acquired 20th Century Fox library in its treasure trove, Disney owns some of the most powerful fan bases – and, according to the Journal, the kind that people will most lock themselves into for a long-term relationship with the company. Thus, if Disney extends the excellent subscriber offer to a larger audience, they would very well avoid the subscriber churn that will undoubtedly be a part of the streaming wars to come. The ultimate advantage of the streaming services will certainly go to the company that can lock in the largest number of long-term players. And, then, it’s likely that this will continue to be the case in subsequent years if subscribers are satisfied with what they’re getting from the streaming service. We would be remiss not to paraphrase the humorous line from Dan Gallagher’s piece in the Journal on the topic, where his comment had to do with the “Mouse House” having some good bait for its new service.