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Disney CEO Iger Confirms Verizon is Paying For Subscribers in Deal With Disney+

Stephanie Sengwe

The streaming wars have officially begun and with Disney+ and Apple TV+ merely weeks away from launching, both companies are fighting to make sure they have a substantial amount of subscribers not only in the first year, but also for the long haul.

Yesterday, Disney and Verizon announced that when the streaming service launches on Nov. 12, Verizon will begin offering 12 months of the service to all new and existing 4G LTE and 5G unlimited wireless customers. Verizon customers will be able to activate their Disney+ subscriptions on a selection of mobile and connected-TV devices, including gaming consoles, streaming media players, and smart TVs.

The inner workings of the deal however, weren’t revealed and with competitors putting up billions to get ahead, the question of whether or not Disney was doing the same in order to garner subscribers naturally came up. CEO of the company Bob Iger revealed in an interview that it is Verizon who is in fact putting up the big bucks to be the exclusive U.S. wireless carrier for Disney+.

Iger told CNBC, “Verizon is making available to their customers one year free of Disney Plus. And it’s a wholesale deal to us so we will get paid for that. And they will also support us with a lot of marketing. But this is not just a marketing play. And it will, I think, have a significant effect–not just think, I know–in terms of jump-starting subscriptions.”

The Verizon and Disney+ partnership follows a budding trend in which streaming services are teaming up wireless companies for distribution. Apple TV+, which launches days apart from Disney+ on Nov. 1, will be available for free to Apple customers who purchase a new iPhone, iPad, iPod touch, Mac, or Apple TV. Quibi has recently partnered with Netflix’s longtime partner, T-Mobile while Sprint has been partnered with Hulu for sometime as well.

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