Disney+ poised to win big in the streaming (star) wars

posted on Sunday, 17th November 2019 by Steve May

Streaming  Broadcast  Sky Q 

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Disney+ looks poised to win big in the streaming TV wars, claiming as many as 101 million subscribers by 2025, predicts a report by Digital TV Research.

The market analyst forecasts that the top five key OTT platforms (Netflix, Apple TV+, Amazon Prime Video, Disney+ and HBO Max) will between them account for 529 million SVOD subscribers by the mid-2020s. 

Both Disney+ and Apple TV+ have made their debut in select territories this month. HBO Max will launch Spring 2020. Disney+ will debut in the UK, Germany, France, Italy and Spain March 31 2020.

According to Digital TV Research, Netflix will increase by 70 million subscribers by 2025, although growth is expected to slow. Netflix will only add 6 million US subscribers in total, says the company, taking its global subscription base to 235 million.

By 2025, Amazon will boast 135.9 million customers, HBO Max 30.1 million and Apple TV+ 27.1 million, Digital TV Research estimates.

What the report doesn’t factor in is the size of the non-paying audience for any of the listed services, created through bundled promotional deals. In the US, Disney has pacted with Verizon to offer a year of Disney+ for free or charge.

"Will the Disney+ UK launch include nesting within the Sky Q platform? Only the Mandalorian knows..."

Disney+ launches with an unprecedented catalogue of 600 movies and franchise content. This should help it resist traditional OTT churn. According to Futuresource Consulting, around two-thirds of Disney+ subscribers will have children under 12, creating a solid base of customer loyalty.

The rollout of Disney+ is being complicated by existing distribution deals with Pay-TV providers. But while the new streaming service is being positioned as a first run home for Disney movies, and high profile originals like The Mandalorian, this doesn’t mean traditional Pay TV operators will be locked out of the Disney vault. 

Disney is thought to be keen to maintain distribution relationships with Pay-TV operators. It’s therefore likely that it is negotiating carriage of Disney+ as an app on these platforms. It’s also possible that we’ll see deeper integration, along the lines of Netflix’s integration into Sky Q.

Will the Disney+ UK launch include nesting within the Sky Q platform? Only the Mandalorian knows. But such a move would be a big win for both Disney and Sky.

Steve May

Inside CI Editor Steve May is a freelance technology journalist, who also writes for T3, TechRadar, Home Cinema Choice and ERT (amongst others).

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