One year in, and it’s safe to say that Disney+ has exceeded already high expectations, building a subscriber base north of 70 million people. But what’s interesting is how they blew past projections.
For most streaming services (including Apple+, which came on the scene around the same time as Disney+), new content is king. It seems like the current streaming landscape is an arms race to roll out the biggest Hollywood name. For Disney though, nostalgia is key.
The core of the streaming service’s audience is Gen Z adults and millennials, all of whom grew up on Disney’s offerings. And now they’re either reliving their childhood or passing their favorite films on to their kids.
A lot of experts thought Disney+ usage might surge at first and then fade once people had seen the catalog’s big names, but that hasn’t been the case. Sure, that’s likely been aided by the 2020 pandemic and everyone staying home, but the overall numbers are striking. ‘
From March to November, 44% of those in Gen Z (those aged 14 to 22) said they use Disney+ at least once a week, as did 42 percent of millennials (those age 23 to 38 ) according to Morning Consult. Breaking down the millennial group further, 49% of parents in this group use it once a week compared to 33% of childless millennials. That kind of consistency means consumers see the service as something they “must have” instead of simply a want.
Of course, the sheer depth of the offerings here, including Marvel, Star Wars, The Simpsons, and Pixar films on top of what Disney makes in-house also helps to keep households without children hooked. And it’s not to say that Disney isn’t producing new content (see the wildly popular Mandalorian series), but the existing catalog is clearly the star of the show here.
The question now though, is if the service can still lure in new customers. The vast majority of people who likely would use the service have already signed up, so can Disney keep living off of the past, will the company follow in WarnerMedia’s footsteps and bring new content straight to streaming to bring in more subscribers, or will viewers eventually move on to another new service?