If it felt like everyone and their brother was trying to log into Disney Plus yesterday, that’s because that wasn’t too far from the actual truth. According to the House of Mouse, 10 million people signed up for their new streaming service in the first day. That’s a whole lotta streaming.
The massive surge of new users might explain the difficulty many people have reported with using the service. Disney Plus’s launch has been somewhat marred by reports of buggines, crashing, connectivity issues, and some titles being inexplicably unavailable. Disney has attributed the platform’s rocky start to unexpectedly high demand, which is a strange oversight considering Disney’s own optimistic forecasts for the platform’s success. (The company is projecting between 60 and 90 million global subscribers by 2024, which would be a phenomenal success even for the biggest entertainment entity in the world.)
It’s important to note that those 10 million sign-ups do not necessarily mean new subscribers. Disney is offering a 7-day free trial, as well as 1 free year of the service for Verizon customers in the US. It remains to be seen how many of those free trial periods will translate into full subscriptions. Disney Plus’s low price point ($7/month at launch) is also a gamble to lure subscribers, a move that the media giant can certainly afford to make. (I fully expect that price to jump up to something more competitive in a year or two, but we’ll see.)
Regardless, the windfall of sign-ups was enough to boost Disney’s stock prices a massive 5%, continuing an upward trend over the past several months as the company began gearing up for the streaming platform’s release. It’s unclear how many of those 10 million sign-ups opted for the entire Disney streaming bundle, which includes ESPN and Hulu, or just Disney Plus itself. And we’re unlikely to learn much more about Disney Plus’s subscriber base, because according to a press release, “Moving forward, there are no plans to release Disney+ subscriber data outside of The Walt Disney Company’s quarterly earnings calls.” Looks like they’re going the Netflix route and keep all their data hidden from everyone except their stockholders.