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Disney Plus subscribers shrug off recent price increase

(Video frames courtesy the Walt Disney Company, animation by The Desk)

The majority of subscribers to the Walt Disney Company’s flagship streamer Disney Plus stuck around with the service despite a recent price increase that brought the cost of access to $11 a month, according to new data released by an analytics firm this week.

The data, shared by Antenna with the Wall Street Journal, claimed 94 percent of Disney Plus subscribers stuck with the ad-free version of the streaming service rather than converting to a cheaper, ad-supported tier or canceling their subscription outright.

If accurate, it would solidify Disney Plus’ position as a staple among streaming services in most households, particularly those with young to adolescent children who are more likely to stream classic Disney and Pixar animated films and Disney Channel fare. It also opens the door for Disney to upward adjust the price of Disney Plus in the future, though it’s difficult to tell precisely where the breaking point will be.

The breaking point is something Disney executives are contemplating out loud as they seek to recoup their multi-billion dollar investment in content over the last few years, much of which has resulted in Disney Plus exclusives that have not quite resonated with streamers the way the company had hoped.

“I think we were off in terms of that pricing strategy, and we’re now starting to learn more about it and to adjust accordingly,” Disney CEO Bob Iger said at an investor conference last week. “We have a lot of rationalization to do from a pricing perspective, but that’s one path to profitability.”

Disney launched nearly four years ago for $7 a month or $70 a year. The low price point helped spur mass adoption of the streaming service, as did a promotion that gave most Verizon wireless phone customers free access to Disney Plus and Disney’s two other streamers, Hulu and ESPN Plus.

Launched under Iger’s predecessor Robert Chapek, Disney invested billions of dollars on exclusive programming for Disney Plus — mostly documentary series, but also a handful of original animated shorts and full-length films. With Iger at the helm, Disney has reigned in spending, with the company vowing to cut content-related costs by $3 billion.

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About the Author:

Matthew Keys

Matthew Keys is a nationally-recognized, award-winning journalist who has covered the business of media, technology, radio and television for more than 10 years. He is the publisher of The Desk and contributes to Know Techie, Digital Content Next and StreamTV Insider. He previously worked for Thomson Reuters, the Walt Disney Company, McNaughton Newspapers and Tribune Broadcasting.
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