Analysis: UK Disney+ anticipation rising

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Data from a survey of 2,175 Internet users in the UK by market research company GlobalWebIndex reveals interest in Disney’s new streaming service has risen significantly in the lead up to its launch on March 24th.

Over the past eight months, the number of UK consumers who express they are aware of the new offering has risen by 23 percentage-points to 58 per cent. Despite the company’s launch event falling through due to the Covid-19 outbreak, already 14 per cent of UK consumers state they have either purchased a one year subscription to the service or will be subscribing to Disney+ on a monthly basis once it has launched later this month.

“Interestingly, 12 per cent of Brits admit that they have actually seen flagship TV show, The Mandalorian, a spin-off Star Wars series,” notes Chase Buckle, Trends Manager at GlobalWebIndex. “But even piracy problems have been unable to stem the excitement around Disney+. Added to this, the recent global health situation will have many people – particularly families with kids who cannot attend school – considering a package which offers them all the family-friendly content to keep them entertained for lengthy stretches indoors.”

In terms of video content, GlobalWebIndex says it is clear Pixar films (49 per cent) as well as Marvel TV shows and films (47 per cent) are among the most enticing for consumers who have either already subscribed or are thinking about a Disney+ subscription, whereas just 32 per cent state Star Wars content specifically plays a decisive role.

Competition between media streaming services is intensifying. Sky in particular has made significant advances in the market with the proportion of UK consumers using NOW TV jumping from 5 per cent in mid-2019 to 14 per cent in March. In fact, 18 per cent of consumers say they are now Sky Go customers, which means they stand to benefit from the recent partnership announced between Sky and Disney to ensure all Sky TV customers have access to Disney+.

Currently, Netflix retains the top spot with almost two thirds of respondents (62 per cent) currently using the service, while Amazon Prime (45 per cent) holds its place as the most popular alternative in the UK.

“The recent partnership between Sky and Disney to offer Sky customers access to Disney+ content as part of their package is an interesting development,” adds Buckle. “It could be a key moment in helping both Netflix and Disney+ retain a competitive share in users in the UK, whilst proving lucrative to Sky as the one stop shop for consumers’ streaming needs.”

There’s plenty of potential market share for Disney+, with 24 per cent of consumers yet to decide whether they will invest in Disney+ as another video on demand (VoD) service.

Partnering with existing players could well be a winning formula given the loyalty UK consumers show towards their existing subscriptions, with just 7 per cent of TV streamers saying they’d be happy to cancel one in favour of Disney’s streaming service.

Instead, 29 per cent of TV streamers are looking to hold on to all of their subscriptions and simply add Disney+ to their bill. This could be an expensive commitment for roughly a fifth (20 per cent) of consumers who are already paying in excess of £20 per month for their existing VoD subscriptions.

“It’s time for the video on-demand industry to review the points of access for consumers,” advises Buckle. “So far, it has been a case of another service, another price list. However, this model can only go on for so long. Looking for solutions to the rising expense, we found that just over a quarter of UK consumers are ready to see ads on the BBC to mitigate the cost of the TV licence and over a third (38 per cent) state that we can do without TV licences altogether. The rise of ‘Advertising Supported Video on Demand’ or AVoD is something for the industry to seriously consider, to ensure consumer costs remain low, whilst profitable for them.”


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