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Disney+ Downloads Surge 68% After 'Mulan' Release

By Jennifer Saibil – Sep 8, 2020 at 10:20AM

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The entertainment king's paid straight-to-streaming venture is proving to be a successful experiment.

Walt Disney (DIS 1.60%) scored a victory over Labor Day weekend with a large jump in app downloads. According to Bloomberg, preliminary data from mobile app analytics company Sensor Tower showed a 68% increase in the number of Disney+ downloads this past weekend as compared to the weekend before, for a total of 890,000.

This coincided with the straight-to-streaming release of the live-action film Mulan, which was originally scheduled for theatrical release in July. After the pandemic forced it to scrap those plans, Disney decided to release the film, based on the 1998 animated version, to Disney+ for an additional $29.99 on top of the $7 monthly fee subscribers pay. The entertainment powerhouse is releasing the film in theaters in certain global regions where Disney+ is not available and theaters are open.

Family watching TV together.

Image source: Getty Images.

During an August conference call with analysts, CEO Bob Chapek said this would be a one-off occurrence, and that Disney's not planning to make straight-to-streaming a recurring event, but that it would be a learning experience to see how it would affect the number of subscribers as well as paid transactions. Along with the downloads, the data from Sensor Tower showed a 193% increase in consumer spending on the app. The data only shows results from Apple and Alphabet's Google downloads and doesn't count other means of downloading, such as Amazon.

This isn't the first film that was sent to streaming because of COVID-19. Disney released the film version of Hamilton straight to Disney+ in July for no extra fee, and Comcast sent Trolls World Tour to streaming in April for $19.99.

John Mackey, CEO of Whole Foods Market, an Amazon subsidiary, is a member of The Motley Fool’s board of directors. Suzanne Frey, an executive at Alphabet, is a member of The Motley Fool’s board of directors. Jennifer Saibil has no position in any of the stocks mentioned. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Alphabet (A shares), Alphabet (C shares), Amazon, Apple, and Walt Disney. The Motley Fool recommends Comcast and recommends the following options: long January 2021 $60 calls on Walt Disney, long January 2022 $1920 calls on Amazon, short January 2022 $1940 calls on Amazon, and short October 2020 $125 calls on Walt Disney. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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