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Disney Plus Leads HBO Max, Apple TV Plus and NBCU’s Peacock on Awareness, Intent to Subscribe

The Mouse House is set to unleash a healthy streaming roar, if new research is any indication.

Disney Plus has the highest awareness among consumers of the four big new subscription-video packages rolling out over the next six months — and, perhaps more important, also wins top intent-to-purchase marks, according to a recent study by Hub Entertainment Research.

The Boston-based research outfit measured the subscription outlook for four upcoming TV streaming services: Apple TV Plus (launching Nov. 1), Disney Plus (Nov. 12), and WarnerMedia’s HBO Max and NBCUniversal’s Peacock (slated for early-2020 debuts).

Of the two launching next month, nearly 60% of consumers have heard of Disney Plus, while about half have heard of Apple TV Plus. Not surprisingly, given that details are still yet to be announced, HBO Max and Peacock are on fewer people’s radar: about one out of four said they’ve heard of them, per the study.

About 24% of those surveyed said they’ll “definitely” or “probably” sign up for Disney Plus — priced attractively, at least initially, at $6.99 monthly in the U.S. That includes 15% of TV consumers who say they’ll definitely sign up or have already pre-ordered the service.

The numbers are smaller for Apple TV Plus: 6% said they’ll “definitely” subscribe, and 10% said “probably.” That’s even after hearing that it will carry a free one-year subscription with the purchase of new Apple devices. Meanwhile, subscription intention is even lower for HBO Max and Peacock — both with 12% of consumers saying they definitely or probably will take.

Of course, in some key respects, the results should be taken with a grain of salt.

First, the Disney and Apple SVOD services have had wide marketing campaigns, launch dates and pricing. Hub’s study is based on a survey of 2,016 U.S. consumers with broadband fielded in August 2019. It’s just a slice in time — and not reflective of how consumer attitudes will change, literally as soon as today. WarnerMedia is set to announce HBO Max details, including cost, packaging and availability, this afternoon (Oct. 29) at a media event, with the timing intended to plant a flag just before Apple and Disney services hit.

Another caveat about the Hub study: What people say they will do and what they actually do can be markedly different. The say-one-thing-but-do-another behavior is something to keep in mind about Hub’s finding that 29% of those surveyed said they expect to drop an existing streaming service — like Netflix — right away if they sign up for one of the news one. Another 37% said they’ll eventually drop services once they’ve determined which are their favorites.

Other research suggests that subscription streaming isn’t a zero-sum game. Consumers are willing to subscribe to an average of four streaming services, per a May 2019 survey fielded by research firm Magid. And Magid also found that consumers are willing to spend $42 per month on all their streaming services — up from $36 in 2018.

Perhaps the most interesting finding of Hub’s study was that younger consumers — those 16 to 34 — are far more likely than older U.S. adults to express intent to subscribe to the SVOD services, with Disney Plus again leading the pack.

About 46% of those 16-34 said they’ll definitely or probably subscribe to Disney Plus; about four in 10 households with kids say the same. Disney’s announced $12.99-per-month bundle of Disney Plus, Hulu, and ESPN Plus also polled well among the younger cohort, with nearly half indicating they will definitely or probably sign up for that triple-play offer.

How Likely Are You to Subscribe to Each Service?

Source: Hub Entertainment Research

At the end of the day, the winners in the streaming wars will have the most compelling content — and the most attractive price-to-value ratio. “The platforms most likely to survive the new service onslaught are those that offer popular shows that one can’t watch anywhere else, and that make it easy to discover those can’t-miss shows,” Hub Research principal analyst Peter Fondulas said.

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