Disney’s Shortened Theatrical Release Windows and a $1.99 Subscriber Deal For Disney Plus

Previously we reported that Disney has hit a potential slump for Disney+ coming in under investor expectations at 2.1 million subscribers for their 2021 fourth quarter.  This takes them up to 118.1 million subscribers, but analysts expected about 10 million subscribers. Disney is apparently trying to reverse course by offering a $1.99 first month subscription deal and have been testing shortened theatrical release windows for their family films.

Disney Plus is not profitable yet and Disney CEO Bob Chapek keeps mentioning that it will be profitable by 2024. But that’s two years away and they are not near the 230-260 million subscribers they need to hit that.

Instead Disney is trying to spin the positive by promoting how much better they have done compared to last year at the same time.  When Disneyland was still closed, and many parks had a fraction of the capacity available. That’s like saying you are running so much faster this year compared to last year when you had a broken ankle.

In an attempt to reverse the down swing, Disney is trying two new things. They are offering a $1.99 for the first month deal for new and returning subscribers and looking at how to get titles to Disney+ faster.

The new $1.99 deal will be for only one month and of course it goes back up to $7.99 after that first month if subscribers don’t cancel.

The deal runs until November 14 at 11:59PM PST.  Most deals are for new subscribers only, but Disney really needs your subscription, even if it get cancelled again, so they can say during Q1 of 2022 they had a huge surge in Disney+ subscribers.

The second thing Disney has been doing to further attract Disney+ subscribers has been testing shortened theatrical windows on family films to get titles to Disney+ faster. Right now they have a 45 day window for their important titles, like Marvel releases, but their family films have been pushed through faster.

I have to wonder if Chapek is using this experiment to see what they can do for the tent pole movies, like Marvel films, coming sooner to Disney+ to boost subscribers.

Here is what Bob Chapek told investors:

What we’re seeing is some recovery of the theatrical exhibition marketplace, which is a good thing by the way. At the same time, we’re watching very, very carefully, different types of movies to see how the different components of the demographics of that market come back. And we’re watching very carefully our family films, as they are released over the next couple of months to make sure that that market will come back to theatrical exhibition as the general entertainment with say the films that appeal to a younger target audience have come back.”

So we’re sticking with our plan of flexibility, because we’re still unsure in terms of how the marketplace is going to react when family films come back with a theatrical first window. I should say that — you’ll notice that the films that we are putting into the marketplace, in theatrical, that are family films, have a fairly short window, at least in terms of any reference point to what history might have been. And we’re doing that so that we can get our films quicker to Disney+ and — but at the same time see if the theatrical market can kick back into full gear as we prime the pump with these films.

Basically he’s talking in circles about family film theatrical windows and admitting they’re doing it to get films out on Disney+ faster. However, in previous investor calls, Chapek and CFO Christine McCarthy have talked about how surprised they were that a large portion of their subscriber base aren’t families. So one has to wonder if the testing will start hitting their Marvel titles.

Either way, Disney is going to do what they need to do to bolster Disney+ subscriber counts. It’s their main focus and they restructured the entire company to feed it.

If you wanted to try Disney+ now is your chance. $1.99 for a month, just remember to cancel it if you don’t want to continue.

What do you think? Comment and let us know!

Source: Comicbook.com


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