John Poelking
John Poelking is a Leisure Analyst at Mintel. His passion for live entertainment, movies, television, technology and travel informs his sector knowledge.

After Disney dominated the summer, taking 40% of total domestic box office sales, the “House of Mouse” is about to pivot into the home at the end of the year with the impending launch of Disney+. The direct-to-consumer video streaming service is set to launch on November 12 and will be available on its own for $6.99 a month or bundled with fellow Disney properties Hulu and ESPN+ for $12.99 a month. Disney recently announced upcoming projects at the D23 Expo – Disney’s largest fan event – marking the start of its pre-launch push.

The content

Take a look at the launch trailer for Disney+ and you’ll notice one theme that’s obvious in the first 10 seconds: “All of your favorites, coming soon.”

Disney+ | Start Streaming November 12

Disney is putting its brand first and following with other acquisitions that will comprise the library: Pixar, Marvel, Star Wars and National Geographic. The original movies and series that were unveiled through trailers also played on the nostalgia of the brand including:

  • The Mandalorian – A Star Wars series that takes place in between episodes 6 and 7 of the franchise.
  • Lady and the Tramp – A live-action remake of the 1955 animated movie.
  • High School Musical: The Musical: The Series – A series spin-off of the Disney Channel movies.

Disney will surely work to expand its brand through the platform as it starts to mature but will be dependent on familiar franchises to attract its first legion of viewers.

The delivery

While Hulu and ESPN+ are ad-supported, Disney+ is launching without an advertising arm. At the D23 Expo, Disney revealed plans to release new episodes for its original series on a weekly basis, rather than releasing a whole season at once like its competitors Netflix and Amazon regularly do. According to Mintel research on digital video, TV series with staggered release schedules can prolong social media conversation, which will be important as Disney works to extend the brand of its newer titles compared to its older classics.

Mintel predicts that Disney+ could attract as many as 4 million subscribers by the end of 2019.

The target

As with other Disney properties, there is one primary group that will be the key to growth immediately after launch: families, primarily with children under the age of 12. According to Mintel research on family entertainment, three in 10 parents are spending more on family entertainment this year compared to last, and more than half would consider paying for new entertainment subscription services in the next year. Further analysis shows that the two greatest factors driving parents to want new subscription services are to avoid commercials and for familiar family shows; Disney+ will have both.

What we think

Based on these factors and the addressable market of target consumers, Mintel predicts that Disney+ could attract as many as 4 million subscribers by the end of 2019, driven primarily by families looking to cash in for nostalgia and new entertainment that appeals to all ages. The potential could grow as Disney increases its advertising efforts leading into the launch, but could also be hurt by any number of technical issues unrelated to the brand including service outages or faulty user experience. Disney+ will likely not be detrimental to established players in the market such as Netflix and Amazon Prime – at least initially. However, the new platform could make subscribing to two services in the same period difficult, as more players enter an increasingly competitive market such as Apple and HBO Max.

D23 further solidified Disney’s entrance strategy into this category: lead with the brand, bolster appeal with old favorites and make sure the programming has legs beyond the initial launch.