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Disney+ streaming service takes off

The Disney+ streaming service signed up 10 million customers on the first day.

Last week was a big one for Walt Disney Co., whose launch of the Disney+ streaming service surpassed expectations.

Disney (NYSE: DIS) added 10 million subscribers to the service on the first day, sending its shares – and helping the Dow Jones Industrial Average – to new highs.

Ten million subscribers in one day is impressive, even though it is unknown how many of the 10 million are on free trials or paying U.S. $6.99 a month. That introductory rate is about half the cost of Netflix (NDQ:NFLX).

Netflix dominates streaming services with 157 million subscribers worldwide. But given that many analysts didn’t expect Disney to hit the 10 million mark until year end, the service is off to a good start.

Disney+ is available in Canada and includes all of Disney’s family-friendly content and most of its mass-audience fare – films and TV shows made for audiences up to a PG-13 rating. The menu includes Disney proper, Marvel, Lucasfilm (Star Wars), Pixar and National Geographic. It also mines Disney classics.

snow white disney
Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs is Disney’s highest grossing movie. Credit: Walt Disney Studios

The available material includes such blockbusters as Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs,  Disney’s highest grossing film, adjusted for inflation. Snow White was first released in 1937, more than 80 years ago and has been re-released many times since.

Disney’s top five grossing films including Snow White are: Star Wars: The Force Awakens  in 2015; 101 Dalmations, first released in 1961, The Lion King, in 1994 and Fantasia in 1940.

The launch of Disney+ is an example of Disney’s enduring brand power. In any market, language and currency, the movies resonate with audiences. Viewers know they will get animated and life action creations, with family-friendly, uplifting  messages. They leave the theatre – or get up from their couch- feeling good. The brand is easily recognized in each market and audiences can be assured of the same quality everywhere. The consistency encourages loyalty and Disney’s brand power.

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