50% of Disney+ Subscribers Are Adults with No Kids, Bob Chapek Talks More About DTC at Morgan Stanley Conference
With emphasis being shifted to direct-to-consumer entertainment, it’s become clear that Disney+ has become a huge part of The Walt Disney Company’s future. But could it also influence the park-going experience? Disney CEO Bob Chapek seems to believe so.
Chapek discussed the streaming service during the Morgan Stanley Technology, Media and Telecommunications Conference on Monday, which took up most of the Q&A session. During that time, he revealed some insights the company learned in over a year of operation. What took Chapek by surprise was Disney+’s appeal with adults without children, who comprise fifty percent of subscribers. He also doesn’t believe that the streaming wars will have a singular winner, suggesting that there’ll be “multiple winners” as streaming services continue to become more prevalent.
And with Raya and the Last Dragonhitting theaters and Premier Access beginning on Friday, there was talk of how Disney will release films as COVID-19 vaccines are distributed and movie theaters continue to reopen. No details were given as to the future of Premier Access or what films could be released through the upcharge service that allows guests to watch new releases on Disney+ while they’re still in theaters. Chapek said that users have become “more impatient” given how so many studios have shifted theatrical releases to streaming in the last year, and the theatrical exclusivity window could be shortened, but the company continues to constantly reevaluate the situation to find the best release strategy.
Of course, there was also mention of the parks. While nothing official was announced, Chapek cited the interconnectedness of all branches of the company, alluding that guests’ Disney+ watch history could be used to help them plan the perfect Disney Parks vacation. It’s unclear as to how it would be used, though it’s possible that recommendations could be made based on the characters or franchises guests watch most. This could be achieved through Disney Genie, the digital planning offering the company announced back in 2019, yet hasn’t been rolled out in the parks so far.
As for offerings beyond Disney+, Hulu, ESPN+ and Star also were touted. Chapek emphasized the importance of locally-branded content for Star, the international adult-oriented platform through Disney+ that offers films and television from the 20th Century and Touchstone libraries and more, which will offer fifty locally-branded originals by 2024. In the United States, Hulu is going strong, thanks to ad revenue and subscriptions being part of the Disney bundle. There was also mention of the high-profile discussions ESPN is having with the National Football League in renewing their deal. While not confirming anything, Chapek did say that in acquiring and renewing sports rights, ensuring streaming on ESPN+ is a crucial element in negotiations, saying that any agreement that adds value for consumers and the company is worth maintaining, though not “at any cost.”