Disney has found a way to monetize an otherwise unruly situation, as the company has announced massive discounts on Disney+ subscriptions amid the ongoing cable TV wars.
There are many things that make a company successful, one of which is executives’ abilities to think outside the box when it comes to problem-solving. But the most successful companies are those whose executives are strategic enough in their problem-solving abilities that they are able to generate revenue at the same time they’re solving a problem or meeting a need.
Disney’s ability to generate revenue knows no bounds. The Disney name has long been synonymous with family fun, entertainment, and exciting travel destinations, and over the years, the name has largely been held in a positive light, though the public perception of the House of Mouse has undergone significant changes in more recent years. Feuds with other groups, organizations, and companies have contributed to those changes, as has the company’s apparent deviation from its traditional content. But despite these changes, Disney’s theme parks remain full, merchandise sales continue, and people are still watching Disney+.
The Walt Disney Company’s most recent adversary is Charter Communications, the parent company of Spectrum Cable. On August 31, Spectrum subscribers who were tuned in to watch their favorite programming at 8:00 p.m. witnessed their television screens immediately go dark. With no warning and no notice, Disney suddenly pulled the plug on all of its channels, including National Geographic Channel, Disney XD, FX, Freeform, and ESPN. But the feud didn’t start there.
Disney and Spectrum had been in negotiations over a new carrier agreement leading up to the Spectrum channel blackout. Disney finally suspended its channels for Spectrum’s subscribers after continued attempts between the two parties were unsuccessful, and as of the time of this publication, an agreement has still not been reached.
Both parties vow they’ve been the fair one, offering the other a deal that was good for business and good for subscribers, but in the end, no compromise was reached.
Disney never missed a beat, posting an explanation of the dispute with Spectrum on The Walt Disney Company’s official website the next day. On Labor Day, Disney posted another update, inviting Spectrum subscribers who are missing their favorite content from Disney-owned channels to join the Disney/Hulu family.
On Wednesday, however, Disney announced a deal for new subscribers to Disney+ as the dispute between the Mouse House and Charter’s cable television provider continues.
The offer includes a monthly ad-supported subscription to the Disney+ streaming service for $1.99 per month for three months–a drop in price of more than 75%. After three months, the monthly rate goes to Disney’s current price of $7.99 per month. The offer is only valid through September 30, 2023.
“We have not seen this before from Disney,” said Lightshed Partners co-founder Rich Greenfield. “It’s possible this [promotion] is due to accelerated shortfalls in subscriber growth. It also could be due to Charter and advertising shortfalls. We just don’t know.”
During Disney’s most recent fiscal quarter, the streaming platform saw losses of nearly 12 million subscribers, though the company boasts more than 146 million customers.