Will Verizon Catapult Disney+ Past Netflix?

Sam Bourgi @hsbourgi
October 22, 2019 14:30 UTC

Disney’s foray into the streaming market received another huge catalyst on Tuesday after Verizon announced it will offer its customers a year of Disney+ for free.

Verizon to Boost Disney+ Adoption

Verizon is giving wireless customers the ability to test-drive Disney+ for up to one year for free. | Image: shutterstock.com

As CNBC reported Tuesday, Verizon will offer all existing wireless unlimited customers, new Fios Home Internet and 5G Home Internet customers free access to Disney+ for one year. The offer will allow Disney+ to convert potentially millions of Verizon patrons into paying customers as early as November 2020 – one year after the streaming service is set to launch.

Verizon said customers will be able to watch Disney+ on any platform.

Disney+ will begin streaming Nov. 12 at a monthly rate of $6.99. It will feature content from Walt Disney Company’s massive catalogue that spans Disney, Marvel, Pixar, Lukasfilm and more.

Disney vs. Netflix: Who Will Come Out on Top?

Disney is one of at least half a dozen major players to enter the market that Netflix has dominated for the better part of a decade. It also has the best chance of dethroning the king of streaming services thanks to its much lower price point and unrivaled content library.

According to Morgan Stanley, Disney’s streaming service will likely acquire over 130 million global subscribers by 2024. That’s about half of what Netflix is expected to have in about the same period. Disney also happens to own 60% of Hulu, so its foray into the streaming world isn’t new.

Netflix is also facing competition from Apple, which recently launched a similar promotion as Verizon/Disney+. The iPhone maker is giving a year of Apple TV+ for free to customers who purchase a new piece of hardware.

Although Netflix says it’s not worried about competition, it did acknowledge that higher subscription costs have hurt its growth. The company added just 517,000 domestic subscribers in the third quarter, well short of the 800,000 expected. Globally, it added 6.8 million paid members, fewer than the 7 million it had forecast.

Facing the possibility of peak subscriber growth at home, Netflix is said to be exploring new controls on password sharing. Greg Peters, the company’s production chief, says Netflix is monitoring the extent of password sharing on its network but hasn’t decided how it will tackle the issue.

This article was edited by Josiah Wilmoth.

Last modified: October 22, 2019 14:33 UTC

Sam Bourgi @hsbourgi

Financial Editor to CCN Markets, Sam Bourgi has spent the past nine years focused on economics, markets and cryptocurrencies. His work has been featured in and cited by some of the world's leading newscasts, including Barron's, CBOE and Forbes. Avid crypto watchers and those with a libertarian persuasion can follow him on twitter at @hsbourgi. Sam is based in Ontario, Canada and can be contacted at sam.bourgi@ccn.com