Disney Plus is one of the few bright spots in the Mouse House’s business portfolio amid the global coronavirus pandemic.
Since Disney Plus’ launch in the U.S. in November 2019, approximately 50% of American households with children under 10 have already subscribed to Disney Plus midway through the first quarter of 2020, according to consumer research from Ampere Analysis. Among homes with kids 18 and under, 42% said they are Disney Plus subscribers.
With millions of kids stuck at home over school closures because of the coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis, Disney may pick up even more subs. And over the weekend Disney released animated hit “Frozen 2” on Disney Plus, three months ahead of schedule, joining the lineup of recent and classic Disney family movies.
Meanwhile, Disney Plus also has had success in signing up 18-24-year-olds, according to Ampere: 41% in that age bracket said they had access to the streaming service in the Q1 survey. For this group, the Marvel films and the “Star Wars: The Mandalorian” series from Jon Favreau have been key lures.
Disney Plus reached 28.6 million user signups as of Feb. 3, according to the media conglomerate. The company hopes to build on that with the launch of Disney Plus in India last week (three weeks ahead of schedule) and the March 24 debut of Disney Plus in the U.K., Ireland, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Austria and Switzerland.
Disney’s strong showing in the streaming space comes as other areas of its business are suffering coronavirus-related revenue hits, including the shutdown of theme parks, delays of major theatrical releases like “Mulan,” and ESPN struggling with the suspension or postponement of all major sports leagues’ seasons.
At this point, Disney needs to turn its focus on ramping up a pipeline of new originals that will retain Disney Plus subscribers, according to Minal Modha, consumer research lead at Ampere Analysis. Of the 56 new titles Disney Plus currently has in production, the biggest volume at 19 are documentary, followed by children and family at 15.
The question mark there is timing, because Disney Plus’s originals slate will face delays as the spread of coronavirus has prompted widespread production shutdowns in Hollywood.
“It will now be key for Disney to ensure it retains these customers with a mix of new Disney Plus originals and new release movie titles,” Modha said in a statement. “Furthermore, while there is still room for growth among both the two core demographic groups, it will be imperative for Disney Plus in the longer term to broaden out its content offering to appeal to a wider audience.”
Disney Plus is priced in the U.S. at $6.99 per month or $69.99 for a one-year plan.
Data in the Ampere Analysis report is based on its consumer research panel, which polls internet users in 22 markets worldwide every six months. The U.S. sample size in the first quarter of 2020 is 4,000 consumers.