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Disney Plus Tops 15 Million App Downloads, Still Hasn’t Slowed Down Netflix

Disney Plus has been going gangbusters two weeks after its debut, notwithstanding the technical issues at launch. But the strong interest in the Mouse House’s new streaming service, at this point, isn’t derailing the momentum of Netflix or other services like Amazon Prime Video or HBO, according to new data.

From Nov. 12-24, the Disney Plus mobile app for iOS and Android was downloaded an estimated 15.5 million times, with 86% of those in the U.S., according to app-analytics researcher Apptopia. That’s an average of nearly 1.2 million per day over the 13-day period. Disney Plus has ranked as the No. 1 overall free app in the U.S. on Apple’s App Store and Google Play since launch.

In the past week, Disney Plus has averaged 25.6 million sessions per day — a sign users “have been highly engaged” with the service, says Apptopia VP of insights and global alliances Adam Blacker.

At the same time, Apptopia’s data shows that Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and HBO have been unaffected by Disney Plus: Based on U.S. data for those apps, download and user session trends have remained consistent with trends pre-Disney Plus launch.

Preliminary data indicates that the launch of Disney Plus has been a boon to Hulu and ESPN Plus — given that Disney is offering a discounted bundle of all three services for $12.99 per month. Both Hulu and ESPN Plus apps have seen an increase of over 50% in downloads from Nov. 12-24 compared with with the 13 days prior to Disney Plus’ launch, per Apptopia. Downloads of the Roku app also have increased since the Disney Plus launch.

But it’s important to note that number of app downloads doesn’t equate to the actual number of active users or subscribers — and it’s still unclear how many people are actually paying for Disney Plus.

Disney announced that Disney Plus had more than 10 million sign-ups on launch day and in the weeks leading up to it. First, there’s no way to independently corroborate that. Also, Disney didn’t say how many of those are on Verizon’s one-year-free giveaway offer for unlimited wireless customers and new broadband subs.

In the first 13 days, Disney Plus generated about $5 million through in-app purchases (after subtracting app store fees), Apptopia estimated. That’s not a significant indicator of Disney Plus’ overall subscriber base given the service’s one-week free trial, the Verizon promo, and the fact that users can sign up and pay for Disney Plus on the web.

As for the Apptopia download figures, the estimates cover only mobile apps, excluding connected-TV apps or direct access through the Disney Plus site. In addition, Disney Plus account holders can download and install multiple apps on several devices: Each account can create up to seven profiles and access up to four simultaneous streams. So, for example, if a primary account holder has the Disney Plus app on their smartphone and also installs it on a kid’s phone, Apptopia counts that as two downloads. (Apptopia does not count app reinstalls on the same device.)

For now, it may be true that Disney Plus isn’t causing customers of other streaming services to rush out en masse to cancel. But for Netflix, Wall Street remains cautious about where the chips will fall longer term — especially with the pending entree of HBO Max and NBCUniversal’s Peacock next year.

“While early trends indicate that Netflix is weathering the impact of the Disney+ launch, we are still in the early innings of major competitive launches as new services come online in the U.S. and expand to other key markets,” Instinet analyst Mark Kelley wrote in a Nov. 22 note. “We think that investors will remain cautious until reported results tell the same story.” The analyst maintains a “neutral” rating on Netflix, citing “concerns around valuation and capital intensity.”

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