By Jon Swartz
Disney+ has taken off like Buzz Lightyear.
The streaming service, which made its debut Nov. 12, has been downloaded 22 million times to mobile devices in what is probably the most successful launch in the nascent industry’s history, according to app-tracking firm Apptopia.
The report says the app has averaged 9.5 million daily active mobile users, landing the top spot on Apple Inc.’s /zigman2/quotes/202934861/composite AAPL +1.51% and Alphabet Inc.’s /zigman2/quotes/202490156/composite GOOGL -0.03% /zigman2/quotes/205453964/composite GOOG +0.02% Google’s app stores.
“I can’t imagine anyone topping this start,” Adam Blocker, who wrote the report, told MarketWatch. He says the combination of Disney+’s inexpensive price ($6.99 a month), the allure of a $12.99-per-month bundle with ESPN+ and Hulu, and the marketing muscle of Walt Disney Co. /zigman2/quotes/203410047/composite DIS -1.05% preordained its success.
Its roaring start, however, has not come at the expense of competing services from Netflix Inc. /zigman2/quotes/202353025/composite NFLX +1.33% , AT&T Co.’s /zigman2/quotes/203165245/composite T +0.74% HBO Now, Amazon.com Inc. /zigman2/quotes/210331248/composite AMZN +0.12% Prime Video, and others, Blocker said. Netflix suffered a momentary dip in mobile traffic following the launch of Disney+, but has since resumed normal volume, he added. (Needham analyst Laura Martin has a different opinion: She predicts Netflix will lose 4 million U.S. subscribers in 2020 because of competition from Disney and other lower-cost services.)
Blocker said it is unclear how much staying power Disney’s service — which boasts content from Star Wars, Marvel, National Geographic, Pixar, The Simpsons, and the Disney catalog — has for a few reasons. He said Disney is likely to raise the monthly price, and it offers Disney+ free for seven days. Verizon Communications Inc. /zigman2/quotes/204980236/composite VZ +0.42% also offers a free year to wireless subscribers with unlimited data plans and new Fios TV customers.
Apptopia, which has measured mobile downloads and usage since 2015, does not include usage on devices like smart TVs, Roku Inc. /zigman2/quotes/205087179/composite ROKU +0.50% boxes, Apple TV or desktop web browsers.
By any metric, the service has been a slam-dunk performer. Since its launch four weeks ago, Disney+ has reached 10 million sign-ups through mobile devices, smart TVs, and desktop computers, Disney says.
Disney said it would not disclose its streaming numbers during its next quarterly report. A spokesperson declined to comment on Apptopia’s report.