Disney+ may have poached 1M Netflix subscribers already

Will new entry change the balance of power in streaming wars?

Disney’s family-friendly streaming service is introducing industry giant Netflix to a whole new world, poaching as many as 1 million subscribers since its creation.

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While the departures amount to just a fraction of the 24 million subscribers Disney+ signed up through the end of November, analysts at Cowen & Co. project that 500,000 more could follow in their footsteps by the end of the year.

TickerSecurityLastChangeChange %
DISWALT DISNEY COMPANY128.63-1.59-1.22%
NFLXNETFLIX INC.469.96-0.24-0.05%

Roughly 19.4 million subscribers, however, said they used both Netflix and Disney, indicating an 80 percent overlap, according to a recurring monthly survey by Cowen.

The numbers show just how big a hit Disney’s mix of Marvel and Star Wars movies, new shows and classic animated films such as "Aladdin" and "Beauty and the Beast" has become. The company garnered more than 10 million sign-ups on its first day, far exceeding expectations.

Some 21 percent of the 2,500 U.S. consumers questioned in Cowen's survey indicated they had already signed up for Disney+, another 8 percent said they were likely to sign up within the next month and 19 percent said they were likely to subscribe in the future.

By comparison, 46 indicated they would pass on the new service. Disney has invested billions of dollars in the product, which costs $7 a month or $70 a year after a free 7-day trial.

As for Netflix, the firm has signed up 158 million customers since launching its streaming platform in 2007. It remains a pioneer in online streaming, Cowen analysts noted, and it's likely to expand further in the U.S. and the rest of the world.

DISNEY+ APP TOPS 15M DOWNLOADS SINCE LAUNCH

Its new subscribers typically carry profit margins of 80 percent or more, boosting financial performance over the long-term, they said.

Subscriber numbers don't tell the whole story for either company, however, and juxtaposing the two is like comparing apples and oranges, said Dan Rayburn, principal analyst at research firm Frost & Sullivan.

“Netflix is up $10 today, Disney is down 50 cents," he told FOX Business. "Shouldn’t it be the opposite?”

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Still, competition is increasing. Both Netflix and Disney+ are grappling with rivals including Apple TV+, with Oprah Winfrey and Steven Spielberg among its first wave of talent, and HBO Max, which comes with “Game of Thrones” characters and DC Comics superheroes.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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