A little under a month ago, we made a projection about the ultimate fate of Disney's (NYSE: DIS) new streaming service, Disney+, suggesting it could clear the 90 million subscriber mark ahead of 2025. Our assertion descended from the fact that Disney has tons of material to work with from the Marvel Cinematic Universe (MCU), and exploiting such a property could drive huge new subscriptions.
For anyone who found our assertions too outlandish, a new report from Apptopia suggests that Disney+ is well on its way, having cleared 22 million downloads, at a minimum.
And Plenty More We Don't Know About
The Apptopia report not only points out the 22 million times that Disney+ has been downloaded to mobile devices, it also notes that the app averages 9.5 million “active daily users,” which is a vital measure in determining just how popular an app really is. It's currently the top app in both Apple and Google app stores, which is a sure sign of gains and the kind of thing that does well in luring casual users to make the download happen.
Apptopia, however, only measures usage and downloads with mobile devices, however, which means there's a healthy dollop of users in there that Apptopia's measure didn't touch. For instance, Apptopia's figures wouldn't apply to any Roku(NASDAQ: ROKU) users, nor would it apply to those who subscribed to Disney+ as part of an existing Hulu account. It also wouldn't include Apple TV, smart TV app use, or even desktop PC users.
Disney, for its part, is planning to keep the current numbers under wraps until the next quarterly report, so much so that it's not even talking about the Apptopia report. All of this bodes well for that report, and right now, our projections that Disney is “firing on all cylinders” seem to be wonderfully accurate.
The Competitive Impact Is Less Than Expected, Too
With all these numbers flooding into Disney+, it would be easy to think that this is the writing on the wall for the other streaming services. In fact, this could be the disaster that Netflix market watchers have been waiting for. Yet Apptopia further notes that that's just not so, at least not yet.
Apptopia noted that both Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN) Prime Video and HBO Now downloads and watch times were unaffected by the massive growth in Disney+. Netflix (NASDAQ: NFLX) did see a small dip immediately after Disney+ 's launch, but it actually recovered to normal levels shortly thereafter. Essentially, much of Disney+'s competition remains exactly where it was, at least on the mobile level.
It's What's Not Mobile That May Be Most Telling
The picture the Apptopia report presents is counterintuitive, to say the least. Disney+ emerged, it made a huge splash, but the worst it did to its competitors was cause a brief lull in Netflix's streaming before even that returned to normal? That's not really what anyone was looking for when Disney+ showed up.
It's important to note that Apptopia's report is just part of the larger picture. After all, we know that Disney has only brought Disney+ to four countries that aren't the US, which means a lot of potential markets that is as yet untapped. What's more, there's word that Roku activity is on the rise, with even Apptopia believing that Roku engagement is up thanks to Disney+. With a worldwide engagement to arrive in 2020, we're likely to see some real changes in things. After all, right now, 85% of both downloads and daily users are in the US.
The picture ahead is likely to be a strange one, with users cobbling together their own “package” of choice using different streaming services to best approximate their viewing habits and interests. We're also likely to see a lot of short-term stream hoppers, as people cancel subscriptions until a new season of a particular favorite title launches, like people dropping Netflix until a new season of “Stranger Things” lands.
This bodes well for streaming services; while there will be budget-conscious streamers who only have one stream at a time, it's also a safe bet that no one streaming service will be rendered useless by its competitors. The market can absorb several services at once; with the average cable package running about $96.18 per month, there's a lot of room for several $9.95 streaming services out there, and it can still generate cost savings for the viewer. The landscape may not be so stark as previously believed. Either way, though, Disney is looking at some impressive gains ahead.