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Report: Disney+ Sees Spike in Demand, Beating Rivals

By John Ballard - Mar 26, 2020 at 3:05PM

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There is robust demand for the Magic Kingdom's content library.

Disney (DIS -0.28%) has been under severe pressure during the COVID-19 crisis with its theme parks on lockdown and movie theaters across the country closed. But the launch of its new streaming service couldn't have come at a better time, with schools closed and parents working from home amid the global pandemic.

Between March 14 and March 16, Disney+ signups more than tripled over the previous week, according to streaming analytics firm Antenna (via Forbes). That beat other streaming services, including HBO Now and Showtime. Disney+ also beat Netflix (NFLX -0.69%), which showed a 47% increase in new signups. The laggard was Apple (AAPL 1.30%) TV+, which only gained a 10% bump in new members.

A TV with the Disney+ main menu displayed.

Image source: Walt Disney.

Disney+ growth should be well ahead of schedule

The caveat with the report is that it's unclear how many of these new signups will stick around and remain long-term subscribers. But this is obviously great news for Disney, which has said it expects to reach 60 million to 90 million subscribers by fiscal year 2024. During the fiscal first-quarter conference call, Disney reported nearly 29 million people had subscribed since the initial launch on Nov. 12. 

Even if this is just a temporary boost, the report indicates how popular the Disney brand is right now, which is important with so many streaming services launching this year from major networks and other content providers. 

Disney+ just launched today in the U.K, Ireland, Germany, Italy, Spain, Austria, and Switzerland, so the service should see another wave of subscribers in the short term. The service will be available in France on April 7. 

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