It’s very early days, but it appears the arrival of Disney Plus and Apple TV Plus in the United States will not derail Netflix’s dominance of the streaming market.
In its latest earnings report, the first since the arrival of the two streaming newcomers, Netflix still gained 420,000 new subscribers in the United States during the last three months of 2019, bringing its nationwide total to 61 million.
While that’s slightly lower than the 600,000 newcomers Netflix had expected to add, it may be telling there was no great exodus when Disney Plus (and The Mandalorian) opened its doors to the adoring public on November 12 in the United States.
That may be down to a number of factors, including the cheap price point and numerous freebies and bundles offered by Disney ensuring it wouldn’t be one or the other for a number of households who may traditionally alternate between streaming services as they catch up with new content.
Verizon Wireless gave away a year of free access to Disney Plus to its smartphone subscribers, which may have contributed handsomely to the 10 million subscribers Google ensnared almost immediately after launch. Likewise, the launch of Apple TV Plus has been aided by lengthy free trials, meaning most won’t have to dip into their streaming budget to enjoy the award-winning The Morning Show.
In a letter to investors, Netflix acknowledged the rival streaming services, while pointing to continued (albeit slowing) subscriber growth.
The firm wrote: “We have a big head start in streaming and will work to build on that by focusing on the same thing we have focused on for the past 22 years – pleasing members. We believe if we do that well, Netflix will continue to prosper. As an example, in Q4, despite the big debut of Disney+ and the launch of Apple TV+, our viewing per membership grew both globally and in the US on a year over year basis, consistent with recent quarters.”
Overall, Netflix says it added 8.76 million paid global subscribers during the last three months of 2019.