Disney+ is finally here, launching in the US earlier this week to mixed reactions.
Set to launch in Australia later this month (19 November), the introduction of Disney+ marks the beginning of the ‘streaming wars’, with mega-companies like Netflix, Apple, Amazon, Disney and even Australia’s Nine Entertainment Co. all fighting for local subscription dollars.
While Disney+ offers an impressive library of content – including Star Wars and Marvel properties, Disney and Pixar movies and The Simpsons – at a competitive price ($8.99/month or $89.99/year), new research by Reviews.org suggests Disney might want to up its marketing spend.
According to the study, which surveyed over 1,000 people, only 38 per cent of Aussies know what Disney+ is.
Additionally, more than half (55 per cent) of those surveyed said they won’t even bother with the free trial on offer.
Ten per cent said they will try the free trial right away, while 35 per cent said they will wait for reviews.
“Perhaps the biggest problem for Disney+ is the perception that there won’t be enough original content available at launch to justify getting another streaming subscription,” said Reviews.org Australian editor Brodie Fogg.
“Disney+ actually has a large pipeline of new and exciting shows lined up for the next few years, especially if you’re a Marvel or Star Wars fan.”
The survey was conducted last week (7-13th November), so theoretically, a last-minute marketing blitz from Disney could increase awareness before launch.
In the US, Disney’s marketing team launched a ‘Plus Up Your Day’ campaign in New York on Monday (the day the service launched), which included a ‘streaming cube’, a truck where people can trial the service and sign up for Disney+; a 12-foot LED truck displaying Disney+ content and a ‘plus up’-themed treats truck.
According to iSpot, Disney ran 2,500 TVCs and spent $US24.9m on promoting Disney+ on TV from 1 September to 10 November, including ads during popular sporting events like the World Series Baseball.
Much of this advertising has taken place on ABC, which Disney partly owns.
Disney recently announced that 10 million people in the US subscribed to the service on the first day.
While Disney’s exact marketing strategy for Disney+ is still unclear, general awareness around streaming as a medium is a clear priority.
In a recent interview with The New York Times, Disney+ marketing chief Joe Earley said: “We need to educate consumers and explain that this is not the Disney Channel app.
“People also may or may not know that Disney owns Marvel and Lucasfilm and National Geographic. So we are having to do a lot of positioning in a very short amount of time.”
There also exists a misconception the platform is exclusively for younger audiences.
The Reviews.org research also revealed younger Australians are more interested in classic Disney content than older Australians.
To counteract this, Disney+ has invested in its Star Wars spin-off, ‘The Mandalorian’, which reportedly costs $US15 million per episode to make.
In Australia, this is where the advertising dollars have gone, said Fogg.
“Early marketing for the service has been largely focused on one show: new Star Wars series, ‘The Mandalorian’,” he said.