New subscribers to Disney Plus will no longer be able to grab a free week of use, reports indicate.
The change comes less than a year after the company launched its media streaming offering. According to the source, a spokeswoman with Disney confirmed the removal as part of a broader plan. Namely, Disney appears to be testing the viability of its service without offers, promotions, or marketing. The company had stopped promoting its free trial several weeks back as well.
According to Disney, the service was designed to have an 'attractive price-to-value proposition'. The company believes the $7 per month entry cost and content that's available is a 'compelling entertainment offering'. And that's without any free trial or otherwise deal-sweetening promotions.
Disney Plus subscribership has skyrocketed and it's still growing
Now, Disney Plus garnered more than 10-million subscribers in its first week after its launch in November. And Morgan Stanley's Benjamin Swinburne, just over a year ago, predicted that it would have 130-million subscribers by 2024.
The free trial promotion arguably had something to do with its initial figures. But Disney Plus is also still growing rapidly still anyway. So there's a good chance that will continue going forward.
Meanwhile, Verizon is still offering a way to get Disney Plus for free. That's as long as potential buyers happen to be students on an unlimited plan. So the company doesn't appear to be abandoning all forms of promotion immediately, albeit in a limited fashion. And those kinds of promotions or something similar to a week-long free trial could appear again, given its plans for growth.
Since its initial launch, the company has also made headway into other regions. India, in particular, appears to hold interest for the media conglomerate. In early 2019, Disney purchased India's popular Hotstar on-demand video service. That acquisition from 21st Century Fox cost the company $71 billion. In April of this year, the company launched Disney Plus through that platform in the region.
The plan was reportedly to gain access to and leverage Hotstar's 300-million strong userbase.
What's going to happen with Disney Plus from here?
All of that indicates that Disney is poised to take its Plus-branded streaming service as close to global as is possible. And the extra capital drawn from users without having to give the service away should help in that endeavor.
But it isn't immediately clear whether the gains on that front will offset any potential consumers who may not give the service a chance without the free trial. Free promotional offers are the standard in the streaming industry. In fact, they tend to be a standard in the media industry as a whole, particularly where mobile apps and web platforms are concerned.
If Disney can maintain momentum without the need for free trials, it could feasibly pose a sizeable threat to the group of apps and services that act as its direct competition. Netflix, for instance, has performed relatively well. But it's also lost money at an astonishing rate for years. Disney doesn't have anywhere near the same problem since it already owns the content it's offering.
So success without free trials could be enough to put the competition on notice, at the very least.