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Verizon CFO Says Two-Thirds of Customers Have Maintained Disney Plus Subscription

Stephanie Sengwe

When Disney+ launched back in November 2019, the streaming service made the initial bow in partnership with Verizon. The agreement made Verizon the exclusive U.S. wireless carrier partner for Disney+, offering 12 months of the service to all new and existing 4G LTE and 5G unlimited wireless customers.

As the one year anniversary of the streaming service was approaching, Disney and Verizon revamped their deal, so that users on select Mix and Match Unlimited wireless plans, get Disney+, Hulu (with ads), and ESPN+ at no extra charge.

Now, it looks like the move has paid off for Disney+ as Verizon’s EVP & CFO Matthew Ellis revealed that majority of Verizon customers who took advantage of the offer have kept the service. “Partnerships remain a critical component of our value proposition. We recently added Discovery to our list of existing successful partnerships, which includes Apple and Disney,” he stated during the company’s Q4 2020 earnings call.

“As the early cohort of Disney+ customers have come off of the initial free 12-month period, more than 2/3 have maintained their subscription, either through their Verizon direct billing relationship or by opting into one of our newest Mix & Match plans with the Disney bundle included.”

The news comes after it was revealed that Apple TV+—which launched days apart from Disney+ with their own free year promo—might not be as lucky. According to a study by MoffettNathanson, 62 percent of Apple TV+ subscribers were on the free promotional offer that Apple gave to customers who bought new devices. Not only that, but 29 percent of those users revealed they had no plans to resubscribe once the promo period is over. However, 30 percent said they would be willing to pay the $4.99/month for the service.

On the other hand, MoffetNathanson found that only 16 percent of Disney+ users get the service via the streamer’s promotional partnership with Verizon with 48 percent of those users planning to resubscribe once the promo period is over. Roughly 23 percent of HBO Max subscribers said they get the service via AT&T’s promotions.

In December, Disney announced their streaming service had climbed to 86.8 million subscribers as of Dec. 2. Though it’s not clear how many of those come from the Verizon partnership, Disney shared that most of their growth came from Disney+ Hotstar, which is the exclusive home of IPL cricket matches in India. Disney+ Hotstar now makes up just ~30% of Disney+ subscribers, meaning that there are ~60 million outside of India.

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