Disney+ sees huge spike in subscribers; Apple TV+ gets modest uptick

Disney+ proving to be the most popular streaming video choice, seeing a big surge in subscribers, as some Americans prepare to spend long periods of time holed up in inside due to the coronavirus pandemic. It’s to be expected that, with school closures across the country, the measured period revealed the biggest gain for family-friendly Disney+.

Disney+ subscribers

Ariel Shapiro for Forbes:

Between Saturday, March 14, 2020, and Monday, March 16, 2020, the number of Disney+ signups more than tripled compared to the same period from the week prior, according to data provided exclusively to Forbes from streaming analytics firm Antenna.

Coinciding with school closures across the country, the period saw the biggest gain for family-friendly Disney+ in 2020.

Netflix saw a more modest 47% increase in the number of subscriber additions, but it is still a solid boost for the streaming giant that already has 61 million paid memberships in the U.S.

Apple saw only a 10% rise in new subscribers compared to the week before, the lowest of any of the major streaming services.

MacDailyNews Take: This is a marathon, not a sprint. It’s also not much of a contest as many people will subscribe to multiple services. Subscribing to Disney+ does not preclude one from subscribing to Apple TV+, Netflix, etc.
Back in January, Apple TV+ was reported to already have 33.6 million after just launching in November 1, 2019. Of course, many of those received a free one-year subscription when buying a new iPhone, iPad, Apple TV, Mac, or iPod touch, but some of those will be hooked on Apple’s high-quality series and stick around! A 10% week-over-week subscriber increase is certainly nothing to sneeze at!
At its current price, with a deep library, and already at 23.2 million, Disney+ should move up this list very quickly and give Netflix a real run for their money. Apple TV+ is obviously performing well and Apple’s challenge will be to build out quality Apple Originals content rapidly so that when the time arrives, subscribers will want to renew. With series like “The Morning Show,” “For All Mankind,” “See” and many more already renewed for second seasons, viewers of those series are likely to renew easily, especially at just $4.99/month.MacDailyNews, January 24, 2020


  1. This shouldn’t be a surprise to anyone. Apple TV+ has a mere 18 shows and movies available at the moment, and another 10-15 being released over the next weeks and months, with only a few geared specifically to kids.

    Meanwhile, kids are stuck at home in the millions. Parents are desperate to keep them occupied. Disney has kids programming up the wazoo. Parents pays for Disney+, which is only $2/mo more ($6.99) than AppleTV+ ($4.99). This is a no-brainer.

    1. Precisely what I pointed out a few months ago.
      To a sound-byte: “Its the depth of their existing catalog, Jim”.

      (or maybe make that “Tim”, and ruin the Star Trek reference?)

  2. The AppleTV app on a Mac has spotty reliability. My subscriptions to BritBox has been broken for months. I’ve spent hours with Apple trying to get it fixed. In the end I gave up, cancelled the subscription and got a refund.
    Also apps that work on the physical AppleTV can’t be accessed on the Mac app.

    My point is that the viewing experience needs to be the same whether you are on the Mac app, in iOS or an AppleTV. Having different behaviors and different levels of access on different devices does not work.

    You also have to navigate to find other episodes of the same show in a very complicated manner. It’s quite bizarre how difficult it can be sometimes.

  3. I’m sure Apple will do better over time. 😏

    In the meantime if you’re like me and you’re one of the few who hasn’t seen them, the Star Wars animated shows on Disney truly are excellent. And they are canon, for those of you who care. Star Wars: The Clone Wars and Star Wars Rebels. Really good stories and animation. Just sayin’. Also The Mandalorian.

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