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Disney+ Drops Subscriber Growth Projections as Changes Coming to India, Price

Joshua Thiede

Wednesday’s earnings report brought some great news to Disney investors, as the company’s flagship streaming service Disney+ reportedly added 14.4 million subscribers worldwide, meaning that the companies three streamers — Disney+, Hulu, and ESPN+ — have now amassed 222.1 million subscribers, not counting for redundancies due to the Disney Bundle. However, there was some bad news as Disney revised its subscriber guidance, with specific losses projected from India’s Disney+ Hotstar service.

Previously, Disney had been looking forward to a goal of 230 and 260 million subscribers by 2024, but in a call with analysts following the report’s release, company executives revised that target. CFO Christine McCarthy split the news into two different projections; the first, the company’s “core” streamer Disney+ domestically and Disney+/Star/Star+ internationally; the second being Hotstar in India. While the core service is projected to stay largely on track at 135 to 165 million subscribers, it’s the Hotstar numbers that took a hit down to 80 million.

Added to the global service, that puts Disney+ in its entirety at upper projections of 245 million subscribers, a 6% drop overall.

Since Disney+ Hotstar declined to renew streaming rights to India Premiere League (IPL) cricket matches, it comes as no surprise that the forecasted subscription rates would drop in that region. Cricket is India’s most popular sport and to have Disney’s local streamer hand over the rights to Viacom18 would put it at a real disadvantage. However, Disney is staying in the cricket game as the company having secured the linear broadcast rights for the IPL.

Another concern facing the company is what happens on Dec. 8 when Disney+ launches its own ad-supported video-on-demand (AVOD) subscription tier. Instead of lowering their existing cost to compensate for incorporating ads into the viewing experience, Disney is instead making the current $7.99 price for its ad-free tier the new rate for its ad-supported service. In turn, the ad-free experience will jump to $10.99 a month. That three-dollar increase might upset a lot of subscribers, and for those customers intent on only paying the $7.99 fee, the prospect of waiting through ads for the same price may make their initial sign-up feel like a bait-and-switch.

However, Disney doesn’t believe that its new AVOD incorporation will be a big problem as the company is gearing its ad-supported tier to start slowly with advertising and build from there. That is certainly a better strategy than its other streamer Hulu, whose customers are fed up with commercials that are far too frequent and repetitive.

Whether or not the goodwill that Disney+ has gained from its low-price and ad-free content will begin to erode when these changes take effect is yet to be seen. But, it shouldn’t come as a surprise that subscriber projections were lower than previously indicated as the entire streaming industry is going through a recalibration just as Disney is shifting how it does business.

Even so, the hit taken from cricket losses in the Indian market will most likely have a negative impact on Disney’s numbers and illustrates how streaming sports is quickly becoming an important part of the digital distribution industry.

Disney+

Disney+ es un servicio sin anuncios servicio de vídeo en streaming que ofrece series y películas exclusivas de Disney, Pixar, Marvel, Star Wars, National Geographic y mucho más. Disney ha desvelado que su servicio en streaming llegará a España el 24 de marzo de 2020.

El precio del servicio en streaming de Disney será € 8.99 / mes o € 89.99 / año (€ 7.50 / mes).

La aplicación tendrá una calidad de 4K en streaming, descargas ilimitadas, 4 visiones simultáneas, hasta perfiles, con cientos de avatares para tu perfil personal.

El primer año se añadirán 25 películas nuevas originales, más de 10 películas, 7 500 episodios de series de televisión, 100 películas nuevas y 400 títulos del catálogo completo de Disney Vault. Además, estarán disponibles nuevos lanzamientos como Toy story 4, El rey león y Aladín; así como, clásicos como La sirenita y Cenicienta.

La compañía ha anunciado varias series y películas originales que estarán disponibles para el lanzamiento, como The Mandalorian, el spin-off de Star Wars con 8 episodios por el valor de 100 millones de dólares, High School Musical: El Musical, El mundo según Jeff Goldblum y La dama y el vagabundo.

Puedes ver la lista completa de series y películas consultando Disney, Disney Channel, Star Wars, Pixar, Marvel, Nat Geo o todo el contenido disponible de Disney Plus en Disney+ Streaming Movie List.

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