In a time where we need some silver linings, it’s a great time to launch a flocking streaming service.
That is, of course, if you’re a Comcast or Cox customer. Lucky for us, I am. The rest of you will have to wait until July 15 (however NBC is considering moving up this date), which is why I recorded a video walkthrough of the Peacock app on Xfinity Flex this morning in case you’d like to check it out. Apologies in advance for the lack of Michael Bay production value. Comcast doesn’t allow you to video capture on the Flex, so I had to rely on my trusty iPhone and tripod. So far, I’m pretty impressed with everything and will share some my full thoughts in next week’s newsletter. Btw, I’m already on the third season of Saved By The Bell, which is the soundtrack in my office this morning.
Speaking of silver linings, there’s Disney+
Which hit 50 million paid subscribers globally within five months after its U.S. launch. Undoubtedly, Disney’s way ahead of schedule in reaching its initial 4-year target of 60-90 million subscribers, although we’re eager to see what subscription growth will look like once customers on the Verizon promotion are faced with the decision to continue to pay for the service through their cell phone bills or cancel their subscriptions. We’ll start to see how this plays out in month twelve. It should be pointed out that 8 million of Disney’s 50 million Disney+ subscribers are piggybacked on Hotstar in India, where Disney+ just became available on April 3rd. Regardless, we commend Disney on the impressive milestone.
The company’s stock, which has taken a beating in recent weeks due to COVID-19, jumped about 7 percent on the news. Still, Disney+ is still a long-term investment and years away from generating the type of revenue that you’d see from a blockbuster theatrical release. And when all television and film production across the industry has come to a halt that doesn’t fare well for Disney’s studio business. It doesn’t bode well for Disney+ who is desperate for fresh content. Library pressure is affecting all streaming services and it will be felt in approximately 3-6 months, making that twelfth month for Disney one to follow.
While Disney+ has thrived in these trying times, the rest of the company’s other businesses have been hit extremely hard. Theme parks and cruise ships are indefinitely closed. ESPN has no live sports and is broadcasting athletes playing video games, and the aforementioned studio business that makes most of its money from movie theatres, which are of course also closed. Last Thursday, workers across all Disney business units were notified of furloughs, primarily impacting those who cannot perform their jobs due to ongoing shutdowns due to pandemic.
At the end of March, Disney borrowed $6 billion and on Monday, the company entered into a new 364-day credit agreement with Citibank for up to $5 billion for general purposes.
The House of Mouse faces some considerable, near-term challenges. As a result, former Disney CEO Bob Iger said he had no choice but to step back into his old role after abruptly stepping down in February in order to focus on “creative endeavors” for the company. Fortunately for Disney, he never left the company.
"Around here, however, we don’t look backwards for very long. We keep moving forward, opening up new doors and doing new things, because we're curious … and curiosity keeps leading us down new paths." -- Walt Disney
Roku approaches 40 million monthly active users
Yesterday, Roku told investors that it added around 3 million active users in Q1, upping monthly active users to 39.8 million. Roku is the leading OTT ecosystem in the U.S. But Amazon's Fire TV, which reported 40 million global users in January, leads the international market. Link
Quibblin’ about Quibi.
In its first week, the mobile-only,but will eventually get casting support for TV, Quibi pulled in 1.7 million downloads according to Meg Whitman. As we mentioned last week (via this video or via this article) we believe their 90-day trial could be too long...especially when new production is halted. Quibi’s facing two separate accusations of theft. The first comes from the art collective, Everything Is Terrible!, which took to Twitter to accuse the service of stealing the premise, name, and logo of the show “Memory Hole”. The second quibble is about the flagship “Turnstyle” feature that allows full-screen videos in both portrait and landscape modes. There’s a lawsuit from a media company Eko claiming they invented the tech, which they even demoed to Quibi years ago.Link
With America at Home, the Streaming War Is Hollywood’s Ultimate Test. Wall Street Journal Streaming Sub Revenue Seen Rising 29% in 2020. Broadcasting & Cable Majority of Consumers Report Mainly Using CTV Devices to Watch Streaming Video. Marketing Charts Roku Says Time Spent Streaming Jumped 49% in Q1. TheWrap Exclusive data suggests Netflix's US subscriber cancellations are slowing, after spiking when Disney Plus launched. Business Insider Verizon, Capital One, Subaru Among Peacock’s New Sponsors Ahead of Soft Launch. Adweek