Media & Entertainment

The Disney+ Early Returns: Day One

Image Credit: Photo by Jeremy Yap on Unsplash

Well, a full day of infinity and beyond is in the books, as the much-anticipated and heavily-marketed launch of Disney+ came and went yesterday. Though my Twitter feed was flooded with people dunking on the service over technical glitches, my Facebook friends were more enthusiastic, lavishing praise on the first episode of The Mandalorian

You’d have thought 90% of Americans had downloaded the app and crashed the service while skipping work all day to stream Star Wars content. But no. 

If there’s one thing we know about earlier adopters, it’s that they love, love, love to sprint to their social channels to tell everyone about it. And what we saw in CivicScience data was a classic case of early adoption with an impressive but not-earth-shattering 6% of U.S. adults having either signed up for the service in advance (4%) or by the end of launch day (2%). Those aren’t Pokemon Go numbers but they’re nothing to sneeze at. 

Here’s a look at how a sample of more than 7,100 U.S. adults responded when asked about the service yesterday.

Beyond our earlier adopters, we see that a solid 9% of online Americans say they are actively planning to sign up for the service. But the most important – and pivotal – number is the 12% who say they are waiting to hear what the early adopters think. The largest segments in this group include women, those over the age of 45, and urban-dwellers. 

A Day of Glitches

The impressions of the Disney+ first-movers will have a big impact on how the service grows. So, a day marked by widespread technical difficulties probably wasn’t what Bob Iger and team were hoping for. We wouldn’t worry too badly, however, as early adopters are generally more forgiving when things don’t work perfectly out of the box. And, it doesn’t appear that the technical glitches were as ubiquitous as my Twitter feed would have you believe. According to a CivicScience survey of 930 first-day Disney+ users, only about 1 in 4 experienced any noticeable technical issues.

They Came for the Movies and the Free Stuff

And even while viewers fawned over episode one of Disney’s original series, The Mandalorian, it’s the movie content that will bring the most people in the door.   Another CivicScience survey conducted yesterday among 1,711 U.S. adults who have either signed up for the service or are at least considering it, found that the Disney+ movie library is the biggest draw. Forty-six percent of respondents cited the films as their primary reason for considering Disney+, while 19% cited the original programming, and 35% valued both equally.

Finally, a CivicScience survey of 1,066 Verizon customers yesterday found that nearly 1 in 5 are “very likely” to sign up for Verizon’s promise of a free one-year trial of Disney+. Another 14% are at least “somewhat likely.” 

While the quality (and the buzz) of Disney+ original shows can drive audience growth, a much larger group of intenders are attracted to a known commodity – the extensive and superior catalog of films in the Disney portfolio. As long as the service delivers on a strong user experience (and gets past the opening day glitches) and financial value (helped immensely by all the partnerships and promotions), you can expect to see Disney+ just keep growing and growing.

We’ll be watching closely. You can be sure of that.

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