Interest in Disney’s new streaming service has risen significantly in the lead up to its launch on March 24th, according to new research.

14% of Brits by Disney+ subscription as UK faces prolonged time indoors

The study of 2,175 internet users in the UK by GlobalWebIndex, reveals that 14% of UK already purchased a one-year subscription or will be subscribing on a monthly basis

Over the past 8 months, the number of UK consumers who express they are aware of the new offering has risen by 23 percentage-points to 58%.

Despite the company’s launch event falling through due to the COVID-19 outbreak, already 14% of UK consumers state they have either purchased a one year subscription to the service or will be subscribing to Disney+ on a monthly basis once it has launched later this month.

Key findings include:

• 14% of UK already purchased a one-year subscription or will be subscribing on a monthly basis

• 12% admit to pirating The Mandalorian ahead of the UK release, while the most awaited content is Pixar (49%) and Marvel (47%)

• The streaming war continues – Netflix retains the top spot with 62% currently using the service, and Amazon Prime is the most popular alternative in the UK (45%)
o While the 18% who are Sky Go customers stand to benefit from the new Sky and Disney partnership

• With all the video-on-demand options out there, 24% of consumers have yet to decide whether they will invest in Disney+
o Meanwhile, 29% of TV streamers will add Disney+ to their bill, whereas 7% would be happy to cancel one in favour of Disney+

• Over a quarter of UK consumers are ready to see ads on the BBC to mitigate the cost of the TV licence and 38% state that we can do without TV licences altogether.

Chase Buckle, Trends Manager at GlobalWebIndex comments - “Interestingly, 12% of Brits admit that they have actually seen flagship TV show, The Mandalorian, a spin-off Star Wars series. But even piracy problems have been unable to stem the excitement around Disney+. Added to this, the recent global health situation will have many people - particularly families with kids who cannot attend school - considering a package which offers them all the family-friendly content to keep them entertained for lengthy stretches indoors.”

In terms of video content, it is clear Pixar films (49%) as well as Marvel TV shows and films (47%) are among the most enticing for consumers who have either already subscribed or are thinking about a Disney+ subscription, whereas just 32% state Star Wars content specifically plays a decisive role.

Sky set to dominate streaming market

Competition between media streaming services is intensifying. Sky in particular has made significant advances in the market with the proportion of UK consumers using Now TV jumping from 5% in mid-2019 to 14% in March. In fact, 18% of consumers say they are now Sky Go customers, which means they stand to benefit from the recent partnership announced between Sky and Disney to ensure all Sky TV customers have access to Disney+.

Currently, Netflix retains the top spot with almost two thirds of respondents (62%) currently using the service, while Amazon Prime (45%) holds its place as the most popular alternative in the UK.

Chase continues - “The recent partnership between Sky and Disney to offer Sky customers access to Disney+ content as part of their package is an interesting development. It could be a key moment in helping both Netflix and Disney+ retain a competitive share in users in the UK, whilst proving lucrative to Sky as the one stop shop for consumers' streaming needs.”

Loyalties vs outlays

There’s plenty of potential market share for Disney+, with 24% of consumers yet to decide whether they will invest in Disney+ as another video on demand (VOD) service.

Partnering with existing players could well be a winning formula given the loyalty UK consumers show towards their existing subscriptions, with just 7% of TV streamers saying they’d be happy to cancel one in favour of Disney’s streaming service.

Instead, 29% of TV streamers are looking to hold on to all of their subscriptions and simply add Disney+ to their bill. This could be an expensive commitment for roughly a fifth (20%) of consumers who are already paying in excess of £20 per month for their existing VOD subscriptions.

Chase concludes - “It’s time for the video on-demand industry to review the points of access for consumers. So far, it has been a case of another service, another price list. However, this model can only go on for so long. Looking for solutions to the rising expense, we found that just over a quarter of UK consumers are ready to see ads on the BBC to mitigate the cost of the TV licence and over a third (38%) state that we can do without TV licences altogether. The rise of ‘Advertising Supported Video on Demand’ or AVOD is something for the industry to seriously consider, to ensure consumer costs remain low, whilst profitable for them.”

Methodology:

• Research conducted amongst 2,175 internet users aged 16-64 in the UK in March 2020.
• Separate survey conducted amongst 3,003 UK internet users aged 16-64 in July 2019.

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