Despite its launch day glitches, the arrival of Disney+ promises to transform the SVOD market in a way that this month’s earlier launch of Apple TV+ will not.

On Tuesday, some Disney+ subscribers reported being unable to log in to the service or access specific content while others were unable to use certain streaming devices. Industry sources told Variety the problems were not related to the streaming infrastructure but to the authentication systems.

Such issues may put a temporary dent in enthusiasm for the service but the depth of its catalogue and its long experience in content creation give it a head start on Apple TV+ which, USA Today noted, opened with “just nine TV shows and films”.

Disney+ growing fastest

Digital TV Research predicts that, between them, the five global SVOD platforms – Disney+, Apple TV+, HBO Max, Amazon Prime and Netflix – will double their total of subscribers to 529 million by 2025.

Disney will be the biggest winner, it says, taking its total to 101 million subscribers. That would leave it in third place, behind Amazon Prime on 135 million and Netflix on 236 million. (Netflix will add 70 million subscribers over this period but only 6 million in the US.)

Apple TV+ is a minnow in this context, with 27 million subscribers, just behind HBO Max on 30 million.

But it may need greater adult appeal

Kantar’s BrandZ research suggests that Disney’s heritage as a brand that appeals primarily to families with young children could be a hindrance to Disney+ as streaming services and on-demand video are more associated with quality adult content, music and sport.

The same research notes that Netflix is currently very positively viewed by consumers and has the right brand equity to succeed not just in the US but globally.

“All the new launches are essentially challenging Netflix, which has the advantages of brand recognition, well-respected content and consumer inertia,” said Graham Staplehurst, Global Strategy Director for BrandZ at Kantar.

“Few consumers will subscribe to more than one or two services so unless they offer some other advantage such as free delivery in the case of Amazon Prime, then rival brands will have to demonstrate a powerful appeal to consumers,” he added. “Right now, none of the competition has done that.”

The switching effect

Even though Disney+ doesn’t launch in the UK until the end of March next year, new research indicates that consumers there are already re-evaluating their streaming subscriptions.

More than a quarter of Brits (26%) are planning to subscribe, and over one third (37%) of these are considering cancelling subscriptions to other streaming services in favour of the new on-demand service, according to a report from research company AudienceProject.

It surveyed more than 6,000 people and when asked which subscriptions they would cancel, 31% said Netflix, 23% Amazon Prime and 17% Now TV.

“The entrance of Disney+ into the battleground of UK streaming services is set to radically change the state of play,” said Rune Werliin, Chief Product Officer, AudienceProject.

“Netflix’s reign could be in question, as thousands of UK consumers consider switching from its service to Disney+. By this time next year, we could be looking at a very different picture when it comes to digital TV subscriptions and usage.”

Sourced from Variety, USA Today, Digital TV Research, BrandZ, AudienceProject; additional content by WARC staff