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Disney+ Sees Increase In Subscribers as People Stay Home Due to Health Concerns

As Americans continue spending time inside as the coronavirus pandemic spreads, they are subscribing to additional streaming services, with Disney+ proving to be the most popular choice.

Between Saturday, March 14, 2020, and Monday, March 16, 2020, the number of Disney+ signups more than tripled compared to the same period from the week prior, according to data provided exclusively to Forbes from streaming analytics firm Antenna.

School closures across the country also contributed to the biggest gain for Disney+ in 2020. The trend, according to Antenna cofounder and CEO Rameez Tase, was observed from data collected from opt-in consumer panels.

Premium streaming services including HBO Now and Showtime also saw steep gains during the same three-day period, but there is a catch: The data also includes free trials, and those services tend to have higher churn rates than Netflix or Disney+. 

Netflix saw a more modest 47% increase in the number of subscriber additions, but it is still a solid boost for the streaming giant that already has 61 million paid memberships in the U.S.

Apple saw only a 10% rise in new subscribers compared to the week before, the lowest of any of the major streaming services. 

This is a bright spot for Disney, as much of its business is placed on hold. Earlier this month, the company decided to close its theme parks in the U.S. and Europe in addition to the ones in Asia that had been closed since earlier this year.

Its film studio has also delayed the release of tentpole films like Mulan and Black Widow and faces an uncertain future when movie theaters open again. Last week, Disney announced its intention to raise cash to deal with the loss of revenue; perhaps the jump in Disney+ subscribers can help with that, as well.

Whether this hunger for content will translate into memberships for upcoming services HBO Max, debuting in May, and NBCUniversal’s Peacock, which will have a soft launch in April and be released nationwide in July.

Like Disney+, HBO Max and Peacock will have deep catalogs of classic films and television shows that audiences may find comforting in this time of uncertainty and fear.

One thing that analysts are uncertain on is whether streaming subscribers will hold on to their new subscriptions in the long term. Tase said the firm will continue to analyze the data to see if audiences retain their streaming services once life returns to normal.


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