Disney+ Threatens to Topple Netflix Reign

In less than three months the Disney+ streaming service has taken off like a rocket. It’s come on so strong that the powers-that-be at Netflix and Amazon must be losing sleep as a gigantic Mickey Mouse looms over them in a recurring nightmare.

Research firm Piplsay polled 63,833 Americans in January to gauge the early success of Disney+ and found that 49% of Americans think Disney+ is as good as Netflix. Moreover, 42% and 40% said the service is as good as Hulu and Amazon Prime, respectively, while 37% went a step further rating it as better than Amazon Prime and Hulu.

Perhaps even more astounding is the finding that nearly one in four (37%) Americans have subscribed to Disney+ since the service launched on November 12 and that 17% plan to subscribe “soon.”

“This could mean that a few months from now, over half of Americans could be Disney plus viewers, a monstrous feat in itself given the short time frame,” Piplsay wrote in its report. “The hype and excitement surrounding the launch can be gauged by the fact that over 70% of those who subscribed to Disney plus did so within the first few weeks of its launch.”

At the current pace, Piplsay expects the service to reach its lofty goal of signing up 60 to 90 million global subscribers by 2024.

Meanwhile, 36% of survey respondents said they actually unsubscribed to other streaming platforms after signing up for Disney+. In its analysis, Piplsay wondered whether this is the result of people reining in monthly expenses or an acknowledgement of Disney’s vast library of content. “That’s an interesting insight that needs to be explored. But one thing is for certain: the platform is creating a huge shake-up.”

When asked what type of content they have watched the most on Disney+ so far, 39% of survey respondents said animated films, 34% said TV shows, and 27% said live-action films. Moreover, almost one in four Americans (38%) reported spending equal time on Disney+ and other streaming platforms, while 36% said they spend more time on Disney+ than other platforms and 26% less time.

Perhaps not surprisingly, 43% of those surveyed said they subscribed to Disney+ for their kids, compared with 44% who said they signed up because of their own interest.

In terms of popularity by brand or franchise, 28% of survey respondents cited Disney as the most watched content so far, followed by Marvel (19%), Pixar (18%), Star Wars (16%), and National Geographic (12%).

Competitive pricing is one of the key factors working in Disney’s favor, according to Piplsay, which noted that 64% of those who subscribed to Disney+ opted for the basic package instead of bundling it with Hulu and ESPN+ for $12.99/month.

“For just $6.99 per month, Disney is offering nearly its entire back catalog of Star Wars and Marvel movies and series, Pixar movies, old Disney movies, 30 seasons of “The Simpsons,” Disney Channel shows, alongside its original movies and shows. With so much watch at such a price, it is not surprising that a majority subscribed to this package.”

In other findings, survey respondents said Disney+ is…
• Better than Amazon Prime (37%)
• Better than Netflix (23%)
• Better than Hulu (21%)
• Not as good as Netflix (28%)
• Not as good as Amazon Prime (23%)

Individuals 18 and older participated in the Piplsay survey, which logged 63,833 respondents in January.

jeffhenning's picture

Being a guy who just recently got on Amazon, but has had Netflix and, as a service provider, Comcast, for about ever in digital terms, I've found Amazon to be lacking though I like some of their originals a lot.

My biggest gripe with Amazon is that their interface on my ancient, 6 year old Samsung really blows. And it goes to the next level when you want to go back 30 seconds to replay something. I have none of these problems with Netflix.

Perhaps Amazon has come up with a better OS that my "old" TV can't handle, but what I'm seeing currently is not blowing my mind. Again, it may be the neolithic TV with a 4-core processor produced in 2014. That, though, seems lame.

I don't think that Hulu is worth the money. I'm beginning to become non-plussed by Amazon. My Comcast box is, also, easier to use.

Netflix is not the greatest thing ever, but it really is the gold standard. It's not platinum or beryllium or vibranium, but it is the standard by which all others are judged.

If Disney is really crushing it, that will come out. That has yet to be seen.

In the interim, I'll be doing what anyone else with some technical savvy does: illegally downloading everything that's not from a company with whom they have no subscription until they prove worthy of their fee.

I have no idea why people go to the effort to post bit-perfect video captures and MKV files to the web, but, like a $20 bill on a sidewalk, if someone leaves it there and I didn't see who it was, sure, I'm going to take it. "Do you know the serial number of the dropped bill?" The answer is always, "No."

I just watched Ford v. Ferrari last weekend from one of these illegal sources. It was the full BD release. Call me a psychopath, but I feel no remorse.

Don't hate the player...

utopianemo's picture

....Just the thief.

utopianemo's picture

I'm waiting to see what happens when Disney inevitably starts pulling their content to create demand. It's been their revenue tactic since they entered the VHS market and I see no reason they'd want to change that now. I've heard it's already beginning: https://bgr.com/2020/01/03/disney-plus-movies-disappearing-from-service-...

germay0653's picture

Disney+ just doesn't seem to have the abundant variety of offerings that Netflix has.

jeffhenning's picture

It's not theft to watch a MKV file that someone else posted when I was never going to buy the product from which it was made. It's a victimless crime regardless of what the companies say. You might as well claim that if I watch it at a friend's house, I'm stealing it.

Since I spend around $3K/yr on TV, movies and streaming, it's not like I'm not already paying for this content. I'm just watching sooner.

And, as you stated, these companies have no problem jerking around their customers when it suits them. I feel no remorse what so ever.

talkaboutsv's picture

Is it taboo to discuss film inventory? It never comes up, but there are only 686 movies on Disney+. Compare with 3,787 on Netflix (way down from the peak of ~8,000 about five years ago). Even casual viewers have been finding themselves scrolled to the bottom of the icons before realizing it.

I know everyone is hell-bent on only watching new stuff, but to me this explains the low cost of the service - it is more of a "channel" than a primary option. Which raises the question - what IS a primary option? If (or I should say WHEN) Netflix cancels blu-ray/dvd disc rental (89,000 titles), I guess I'm going to be stuck paying Amazon $3.99 per each. That's going to run me over $1,000/year and still only 23,994 titles to pick from.