Verizon is giving away Disney Plus — the Mouse House’s new streaming service debuting next month — free for one year to all of its wireless customers on unlimited-data plans, under a broad new partnership between the two companies.
When Disney Plus launches Nov. 12, the telco will begin offering 12 months of the video-streaming service to all new and existing 4G LTE and 5G unlimited wireless customers. In addition, Verizon will extend the same offer to new Fios broadband or 5G home wireless internet customers. After the one-year promo pricing expires, Verizon customers will revert to the regular $6.99 monthly subscription price (unless they cancel Disney Plus).
The pact — under which Verizon is the exclusive U.S. wireless carrier partner for Disney Plus — should provide an immediate shot in the arm for Disney Plus’ initial subscriber count.
As Telcos and streaming services respectively compete for new customers and ARPU, add-ons like this one have become common. T-Mobile pays the Netflix bills of its Magenta Family plan customers. Sprint provides ad-supported Hulu for those with Unlimited plans. Apple will give away access to TV+ with the purchase of a new device and recently, AT&T Chief Operating Officer John Stankey revealed that the company will be offering HBO Max gratis to its pay TV subscribers (DirecTV, AT&T TV, Uverse) who subscribe to HBO. Also Peacock, NBCUniversal’s upcoming service, will be free to pay TV subscribers (which we think is a strategy they’ll use to increase the number of cable households.)
Disney’s partnership with Verizon should help Disney+ build a solid subscriber base and quickly. The service launches in 14 days in the United States, Canada, and the Netherlands.
Verizon has about 100 million wireless customers and for the first time, about 50% of those are on unlimited data plans according to CFO Matthew Ellis. The company’s residential business is much smaller, with only about 6 million households.
Verizon is hoping to increase customer growth in the future and the Disney+ promotion should be a win for both parties. Verizon seeks to differentiate itself from its competitors and Disney looking to quickly amass as many subscribers as possible.
What I don’t know is how my charge will be “papered”. Meaning, when my promotion ends on November 11 2020, will Disney+ be set to auto-renew through Verizon or will I be required to reactive the service directly on disneyplus.com or one of the Disney+ Connected TV or mobile applications? I’ll let you know in 2 weeks.
What I do know is Bob Iger recently informed us that Disney+ downloads will be available after its content leaves for other streaming services. This is extremely important as several Disney titles that have left Netflix are set to come back in 2026.