Disney+ is Google’s Top Trending Search Term for 2019 – Should Netflix Start Sweating?

Dec 12, 2019
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Disney (NYSE:DIS) officially threw its hat into the crowded streaming ring about 4 weeks ago when it launched its much-anticipated Disney+ service that boasts an extensive library of popular shows and movies for $7 per month. The service’s debut, by all accounts, has been a hallmark of success.

Within a day of the launch, Disney reported that the service had garnered 10 million signups through smart TVs, mobile devices and desktops. Now, the independent app-tracking company Apptopia has reported that the Disney+ mobile app has been downloaded over 22 million times and boasts an average of 9.5 million daily active users, thereby, clinching one of the top spots on the app stores of both Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) and Google (NASDAQ:GOOGL).

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It should be noted though that Apptopia only tracks app activity on mobile devices. In order to estimate the quantum of an app’s total downloads, the company deploys its data analytics tool on over 250,000 apps and then aggregates this data with publicly available information. Moreover, due to the nature of its tracking, Apptopia can’t distinguish between free trial downloads and those forming a basis for a paid subscription. As a refresher, Disney currently offers a 7-day trial for the Disney+ streaming service. Additionally, Verizon (NYSE:VZ) offers the subscribers of its unlimited data plans as well as new Fios TV customers the facility to enjoy the streaming service at zero cost for a period of 1 year.

According to Apptopia, Disney has already raked in about $20 million from its Disney+ app. As a qualifier, this estimate does not take into account the proportion of revenue that Disney will have to allocate to the app stores as their share of the pie.

In another measure of success, Google’s annual analysis identified Disney+ as the term that topped the list of trending searches in the U.S. this year. The list, unveiled on Wednesday, is based on Google’s interpretation of what constitutes a search trend. Consequently, it is likely that “Disney+” was not the most searched term in the U.S. in 2019 but, according to Google, depicted the strongest search trend.

As mentioned earlier, the streaming sphere is becoming more crowded with the passage of time. By May 2020, AT&T’s (NYSE:T) WarnerMedia will have launched its HBO Max streaming service. The $15-per-month service will feature 10,000 hours of streaming content at launch including 1,800 movies and a new Game of Thrones series. Comcast’s (NASDAQ:CMCSA) NBCUniversal is also expected to debut its first streaming service, called Peacock, by April 2020. Finally, Apple’s streaming service – Apple TV Plus – launched earlier in November but its library remains limited to a handful of shows for now. In the midst of this rising tide of competition, perhaps paradoxically, Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX) has been steadily raising its prices with its most popular plan currently costing $12.99 per month. This may be due to the fact that Netflix remains the undisputed champion in the streaming sphere. As an illustration, in the third quarter of 2019, Netflix had over 158 million paying streaming subscribers worldwide as well as over 5.5 million free trial customers.

In another notable observation, Apptopia believes that the rip-roaring success of Disney+ has not meaningfully affected the mobile traffic of its rival streaming apps such as AT&T’s HBO Now and Amazon’s (NASDAQ:AMZN) Prime Video. Interestingly, Netflix did witness a slight drop in traffic during the debut of Disney+. However, it quickly regained the lost volume, according to Apptopia’s findings.

Disney’s trailing twelve-month income currently stands at $10.41 billion and has a market capitalization of $265.62 billion. On Wednesday, the company’s stock closed at $147.59 corresponding to a YTD gain of 34.60 percent.

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