The Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES:^DJI) had eked out a 0.1% gain by 2:10 p.m. EST Wednesday, largely thanks to Disney (NYSE:DIS). One day after the launch of the Disney+ streaming service, Disney announced a massive haul of initial sign-ups.
Also up on Wednesday was Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL), which received some positive analyst coverage and announced a new MacBook Pro.
Disney+ starts strong
Despite some technical issues during Tuesday's launch, Disney announced on Wednesday that its Disney+ streaming service had already attracted 10 million sign-ups. Disney offers users a 7-day free trial, so a sign-up isn't the same thing as a paying customer. But the huge tally is an indication that demand for Disney's content is strong.
Shares of Disney were up 5.1%, adding to Tuesday's gains.
Competitor Netflix currently has nearly 160 million paying subscribers globally, so Disney+ has a lot of ground to make up. Disney expects its streaming service to have as many as 90 million subscribers by 2024.
It's unclear how consumers will behave as the number of high-quality streaming options grows. Many households will likely subscribe to both Disney+ and Netflix, as well as to some other services, but some Netflix subscribers may begin to question the value of the service. Netflix's standard plan costs $12.99 per month, more than twice as much as Disney+ under its annual plan. Disney also offers a bundle with Disney+, ad-supported Hulu, and ESPN+ for $12.99, positioning it as a Netflix replacement.
While 10 million Day One sign-ups is impressive, Disney+ will need to keep attracting hordes of subscribers over the next few years to have any chance at catching up with Netflix.
Apple wins over analyst, launches new MacBook
A couple pieces of Apple news helped drive shares of the tech giant up 0.6% on Wednesday. First, RBC initiated coverage of Apple, rating the stock outperform and slapping on a $295 price target. RBC analyst Robert Muller sees the iPhone providing a stable foundation as Apple deepens its relationships with customers. Plus, the company has been growing its services business, adding to its stable of services with the recent launch of Apple TV+.
Muller also sees the possibility of a 5G iPhone in 2021 driving a strong upgrade cycle. Apple has been struggling with slumping sales of iPhones as users hold onto their devices for longer. If 5G is compelling enough, it could help return Apple's most important business to growth.
In addition to the positive analyst coverage, Apple announced a new 16-inch MacBook Pro that features an improved display and keyboard. Apple's Mac business generated just 11% of the company's revenue in its latest quarter, but a loyal customer base makes the Mac a reliable source of revenue and profit for the company.
Including Wednesday's rally, Apple stock is now up about 67% since the beginning of the year.