Disney+ to close in on Netflix with Verizon promotion

By Helen Coster and Neha Malara (Reuters) - Walt Disney Co's launch of its Disney+ streaming service will get a boost of about 50 million U.S.

Reuters October 23, 2019 03:06:12 IST
Disney+ to close in on Netflix with Verizon promotion

Disney to close in on Netflix with Verizon promotion

By Helen Coster and Neha Malara

(Reuters) - Walt Disney Co's launch of its Disney+ streaming service will get a boost of about 50 million U.S. subscribers through a promotion with Verizon Communications Inc, the telecom provider said on Tuesday.

The move puts Disney+, which will debut on Nov. 12 in the United States, close to the size of Netflix's 61 million paying U.S. subscribers.

Disney shares rose 1.7% to close at $132.55 (102.85 pounds), and Verizon was barely changed at $60.76 on the New York Stock Exchange. Netflix Inc shares fell 4.3% to $266.03 on Nasdaq.

For a graphic on Disney vs Netflix as streaming war looms:

https://fingfx.thomsonreuters.com/gfx/mkt/12/7683/7614/Disney%20vs%20NFLX.png

Verizon said all its new and existing unlimited wireless customers, as well as new Fios and 5G Home internet customers, will be eligible for a free, one-year subscription to Disney+. The service will cost regular subscribers $7 monthly or $70 annually. A bundle that includes ESPN+ and Hulu will cost $13 a month.

Disney will be paid by Verizon in a "wholesale" deal arrangement, Disney Chief Executive Robert Iger said in a CNBC interview. The agreement "will have a significant effect ... in terms of jumpstarting subscriptions," he added.

As of the second quarter, Verizon served 118 million wireless subscribers, with about half of them purchasing unlimited service, the company has said.

Verizon and Disney are taking a page out of Apple Inc's playbook by giving a free year's worth of the video service, to quickly build a subscriber base.

Apple plans to give away a one-year subscription https://www.reuters.com/article/apple-iphone-tv/update-1-apple-leans-on-devices-business-in-global-battle-against-disney-netflix-idUSL2N26119B to Apple TV+ for all purchasers of new Macs, iPhones and Apple TV devices. The service is set to launch on Nov. 1.

Analysts estimate Apple could sell as many as 200 million of its latest iPhones to existing users upgrading their old phones.

The Verizon deal gives Disney an advantage in the so-called streaming wars, in which companies like Netflix, Amazon.com Inc, Comcast Corp and AT&T Inc compete for streaming video subscribers.

Analysts at research firm Cowen noted that Verizon recently reduced the price of its unlimited plans by $5 per month to encourage customer uptake in preparation for 5G.

Fewer than half of Verizon's customers are on unlimited plans, Chief Financial Officer Matt Ellis said on the company's second-quarter earnings call.

Verizon had 124 million customers across wireless and Fios internet in the second quarter.

The move by Disney and Verizon puts added pressure on AT&T, which is announcing details of its forthcoming HBO Max streaming service at an investor day presentation on Oct. 29. AT&T has not yet released pricing or distribution details for the new service.

Last year, Verizon shut down its go90 advertising-supported streaming video service after a three-year run, after failing to reach younger viewers. It had invested millions to acquire sports and content rights from short-form video producers.

(Reporting by Helen Coster in New York and Neha Malara in Bengaluru; Additional reporting by Sheila Dang in New York; Editing by Kenneth Li, Bernadette Baum and Richard Chang)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

Updated Date:

TAGS:

also read

France, Germany to agree to NATO role against Islamic State - sources
| Reuters
World

France, Germany to agree to NATO role against Islamic State - sources | Reuters

By Robin Emmott and John Irish | BRUSSELS/PARIS BRUSSELS/PARIS France and Germany will agree to a U.S. plan for NATO to take a bigger role in the fight against Islamic militants at a meeting with President Donald Trump on Thursday, but insist the move is purely symbolic, four senior European diplomats said.The decision to allow the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to join the coalition against Islamic State in Syria and Iraq follows weeks of pressure on the two allies, who are wary of NATO confronting Russia in Syria and of alienating Arab countries who see NATO as pushing a pro-Western agenda."NATO as an institution will join the coalition," said one senior diplomat involved in the discussions. "The question is whether this just a symbolic gesture to the United States

China's Xi says navy should become world class
| Reuters
World

China's Xi says navy should become world class | Reuters

BEIJING Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday called for greater efforts to make the country's navy a world class one, strong in operations on, below and above the surface, as it steps up its ability to project power far from its shores.China's navy has taken an increasingly prominent role in recent months, with a rising star admiral taking command, its first aircraft carrier sailing around self-ruled Taiwan and a new aircraft carrier launched last month.With President Donald Trump promising a US shipbuilding spree and unnerving Beijing with his unpredictable approach on hot button issues including Taiwan and the South and East China Seas, China is pushing to narrow the gap with the U.S. Navy.Inspecting navy headquarters, Xi said the navy should "aim for the top ranks in the world", the Defence Ministry said in a statement about his visit."Building a strong and modern navy is an important mark of a top ranking global military," the ministry paraphrased Xi as saying.