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How Many Subscribers Will Disney Plus & Apple TV Plus Retain After Promos End?

Stephanie Sengwe

When Disney+ and Apple TV+ launched last November, one thing both companies had in common was their promotional offerings.

Last October, Verizon and Disney partnered up to make the wireless company the exclusive U.S. wireless carrier partner for Disney+. Verizon’s wireless customers on unlimited-data plans were offered the service free for one year.

According to Light Reading, a study by MoffettNathanson found that 18% of subscribers access Disney+ through the promotional offering with Verizon.

For their part, Apple offered a free one-year subscription to anyone who purchased an iPhone, iPad, Mac, or Apple TV after the service was announced.

Things seem a bit gloomier for Apple TV+, which is the only service that gets most of its users through their promotional offerings. According to the study, 59% of Apple TV+ come from their promotional offering as of Q3 2020.

For Apple TV+ only 32% had plans to renew the service once the promotional period end. The service recently extended the free year of service through through February 2021.

The study found that daily usage of Disney+ went down 3%, to 26 percent in Q3 2020, after previously falling 2% in Q2 2020. But, the company has The Mandalorian, WandaVision, and Soul all coming later this year.

MoffettNathanson found that only 44% of Disney+ users planned to re-subscribe once their promotion ended, while 18% said they had no plans to renew. Usage of Disney+ has already begun waning.

It is worth noting that Disney recently revamped their distribution deal with Verizon so that users on select Mix and Match Unlimited wireless plans, get Disney+, Hulu (with ads), and ESPN+ at no extra charge.

“This continued fall in frequent usage points concerns us as Disney+ approaches the lapping of its first year promotional subs with few hours of limited content,” Michael Nathanson, analyst with MoffettNathanson stated. “We remain concerned about future subscriber churn if there is a slow device cycle and users choose not to renew on their own.”

As with separate recent studies, MoffettNathanson also found that audiences are pivoting towards AVODs in droves as well. The study found that services such as The Roku Channel, Peacock and Pluto TV are used by 10 percent to 20 percent of Netflix subscribers as a way to complement their paid subscriptions.

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