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‘Soul,’ ‘WW84,’ and ‘Hamilton’ - Which 2020 Blockbuster Was the Stickiest For New Streaming Subscribers?

Ben Bowman

With the world stuck at home, 2020 was perhaps the most important year for the streaming video industry. Disney+ capitalized on the captive audience, throwing out some big-time blockbusters to boost their subscriber numbers. Last year also saw the debut of HBO Max, and after many, many delays, they debuted “Wonder Woman 1984” on the same day it landed in theaters.

These choices were not made lightly. Existing subscribers could enjoy the films without an additional fee, while using a theater-exclusive model might have been more lucrative in a pre-pandemic world. The big question is whether an in-service debut would draw and retain users for the long haul. If users merely made a one-month “rental” of a service, the strategy would be a financial backfire.

The analytics firm Antenna tracked the new streaming sign-ups from July to December, and it’s clear “Hamilton” and “Wonder Woman 1984” drove massive numbers of new subscribers to their respective platforms. (The numbers are U.S. only.)

“WW84” drove the most sign-ups of any 2020 film. “Hamilton” pulled in 71% of that number, while “Soul” drummed up 35% of Wonder Woman’s total.

But the real question is whether those new subscribers stuck around? Today, Antenna ran the numbers.

New subscribers for “Soul” stuck around at the highest rate of the three films: 69%. “WW84” was extremely close, with 67% of those new subscribers sticking with the service. But “Hamilton” may have backfired for Disney+. Only 62% of new “Hamilton” subscribers” stuck with Disney+ two months after joining the service. Nearly a quarter of subscribers who joined Disney+ on “Hamilton’s” opening weekend canceled within one month.

You could probably have predicted this. New subscribers for “Soul” would have found many similar Pixar films in the Disney+ catalog. Those who joined HBO Max for Wonder Woman’s newest adventure also had access to several movies featuring DC heroes and villains. But if you joined Disney+ in search of more hip-hop musicals, you’re going to come up empty. It’s tonally very different from the rest of the Disney brand.

Another strategy may be in play as HBO Max eventually pulled “WW84” from their regular rotation. If you can grab users with content and keep them and remove the content that pulled them in, that might be the best possible scenario for the streamers. If an HBO Max subscriber wants to see Wonder Woman in action, the only option is a digital rental. Disney+ subscribers still have access to Lin-Manuel Miranda’s masterpiece and Pixar’s latest film.

Disney did try to split the difference by offering “Mulan” and “Raya and the Last Dragon” at a premium tier, but Antenna’s tracking shows that “Mulan” didn’t make much of a dent beyond the normal subscriber churn. The film was also available to regular Disney+ subscribers who were willing to wait a few months.

The industry is laser-focused on subscriber numbers, so the best long-term strategy remains to be seen. But if Disney wants to bring back some lost viewers, they may need to add more hip-hop musicals about our founding fathers. The Hall of Presidents is just waiting for a sick beat.

  • Wonder Woman 1984

    16 de diciembre de 2020

    En 1984, en plena guerra fría, Diana Prince, conocida como Wonder Woman se enfrenta al empresario Maxwell Lord y a su antigua amiga Barbara Minerva / Cheetah, una villana que posee fuerza y agilidad sobrehumanas.

  • Hamilton

    3 de julio de 2020

    La historia gira en torno a los padres fundadores de los Estados Unidos, como George Washington y Thomas Jefferson, y a las experiencias vividas por Alexander Hamilton a lo largo de su vida, en la que se codeó con personajes históricos como Aaron Burr y John Laurens. A través de este musical en clave de hip hop, se puede ver cómo Hamilton fue un huérfano en el Caribe, un inmigrante en Nueva York que consiguió hacerse un hueco en el ejército personal de George Washington, ser elegido por el presidente como Secretario del Tesoro de los Estados Unidos, y convertirse en uno de los padres de la política económica norteamericana.

  • Soul

    25 de diciembre de 2020

    ¿Alguna vez te has preguntado de dónde provienen tu pasión, tus sueños y tus intereses? ¿Qué es lo que te hace ser… tú? Viaja desde las calles de Nueva York a los reinos cósmicos para descubrir las respuestas a las preguntas más importantes de la vida.

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