Exclusive: Study Finds Market Conditions Perfect for Disney+ Rollout

A new study says Disney+ seems to be entering U.S. households at the perfect time, as more and more viewers consider cutting the cord.
According to the survey from Hub Entertainment Research, given exclusively to Cheddar, when a person is deciding which TV source to choose, the two most important factors are ease of finding something to watch and access to their favorite shows. Other top considerations include access to live programming, strong content variety, and ease of binge viewing.
Disney+ checks off a lot of these boxes for many viewers. And while it will not offer live programming directly on its streaming platform, it can provide that option when bundled with sister services ESPN+ and Hulu.
"Disney+ will be entering a crowded marketplace," Hub Entertainment Group CEO Jon Giegengack said. "But it does have some qualities that will differentiate it from many competitors, and that align with things our research suggests are very important to consumers."
During Investor Day in April, Disney said it expects Disney+ will have 60 million and 90 million subscribers worldwide — a third of that expected in the U.S. — by the end of 2024.
The Hub study involved more than 1,600 people who watched at least one hour of TV a day. People are as likely to consider online TV sources, like streaming and OTT replacements, as their go-to "TV home base" compared to cable or satellite subscriptions, the research also found.
About 45 percent of people consider digital sources to be their first TV viewing platform. Meanwhile just one-third of people first look for live programming when they turn on their TVs, which shows that people are shifting to on-demand content as their default. As more people accept that online services are a viable TV replacement, Disney+ has a chance to become the first choice when it comes to TV viewing.
Plus the low $6.99 price point will let people add the service without having to reconsider budgets.
"Recent research has shown that Netflix is having success gaining traction for their own original content," Giegengack said. "But at Disney's price points, most consumers can afford to have both (rather than needing to choose one over the other). That will make it much easier for them to establish a user base, even in a market filled with habitual Netflix users."
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