When Disney (NYSE:DIS) launched its flagship streaming platform Disney+ just over a year ago, Verizon Communications (NYSE:VZ) made a big, if somewhat calculated, bet on the nascent service. Just prior to its launch, Verizon teamed up with the House of Mouse to offer Disney+ free for one year. The offer was available to both new and existing customers choosing the Verizon Unlimited plan, as well as new 5G Home and Fios internet customers.
A little more than a year later, the results are exceeding Verizon's wildest dreams.
Two-thirds of customers who signed up for the promotional deal that included one free year of Disney+ are still Verizon customers today.
"We think this is unheard of," said Hans Vestberg, chairman and CEO of Verizon. "We are getting high-quality customers ... We will not have hundreds of these types of [streaming] agreements. We will have the absolute best ones. ... [As a result] our churn number's at an all-time low," Vestberg stated, though he didn't provide additional specifics.
At the time Verizon first struck its agreement with Disney, many wondered whether Verizon would get much bang for its buck, but it seems that question has been put to rest. Verizon said its Fios internet added roughly 300,000 subscribers for the year and some 92,000 in the fourth quarter alone. At the same time, its pay TV service lost 298,000 customers last year. Verizon said those losses "reflect the ongoing shift from traditional linear video to over-the-top offerings."