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Disney+ boosted by triple whammy of promo, Beatles and holiday binging, data show

·Senior Reporter
·3-min read
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Peter Jackson's high-profile Beatles documentary debuted exclusively on Disney+ (DIS) over the long Thanksgiving weekend, and new data suggests the three-part series may have helped lure in subscribers, along with a few other temporary factors.

According to U.S. data from mobile analytics company App Annie, Disney+ daily downloads across both iOS and Google Play increased more than 33% the weekend of the premiere (Nov 25- Nov 27) when compared to the daily average in the week prior (Nov 18-24.)

App download research firm Sensor Tower reported similar trends, adding that Disney+ daily active users rose by 14.5% worldwide, and 29.5% in the U.S. between November 25 to November 28, versus the week prior.

However, downloads also increased for competitors Netflix (NFLX) and HBO Max (T) during that same time period— rising more than 40% and 30%, respectively, App Annie said, suggesting that holiday binging helped to fuel broad interest in streaming platforms.

(Courtesy: Apple Corps Ltd./Disney)
(Courtesy: Apple Corps Ltd./Disney)

Data intelligence platform Apptopia explained to Yahoo Finance that most streaming services see download bumps throughout the Thanksgiving weekend, as more people gather at home and seek out content to watch with friends and family. As a result, it's difficult to pinpoint the increase exclusively to the documentary.

Alternatively, the platform received a much larger download surge after Disney+ Day on November 12 — when consumers were incentivized to become a subscriber for $1.99 per month, compared to the current $7.99 fee.

According to Apptopia data compiled between October 30 and November 28, downloads saw a consistent increase in the days that followed the promotion, as people likely subscribed before later downloading the mobile app. Downloads peaked at 167,302 on November 15 — three days after Disney+ Day.

Overall, Disney has heavily invested in its content-first strategy with the two-year-old streaming service becoming a key growth driver for the company.

However, the platform has been adding users at a decelerating clip compared to earlier on in the pandemic, which showed up in the media giant's latest quarterly earnings report.

Disney CEO Bob Chapek previously warned investors that a slowdown was imminent, noting that COVID-induced production delays were inhibiting new content from coming to the service globally, which was in turn affecting subscriber growth.

"Although film and television production generally resumed beginning in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2020, we continue to see disruption of production activities depending on local circumstances," Disney said in its latest earnings release. "Fewer theatrical releases and production delays have limited the availability of film content to be sold in distribution windows subsequent to the theatrical release."

Currently, the box office has struggled to climb back to pre-pandemic levels, as COVID-wary theater goers remain hesitant to return. Coupled with the latest Omicron variant news — which hit just in time to disrupt the five-day Thanksgiving weekend stretch — it seems likely that the box office recovery story is far from over.

Over the holiday weekend, both Disney's "Encanto" and Lady Gaga's "House of Gucci" delivered lukewarm results amid a largely muted holiday weekend.

According to data from Comscore, the domestic box office racked up $142 million in ticket sales — a significant improvement from last year (+64%) but still 50% below pre-pandemic levels.

Alexandra is a Producer & Entertainment Correspondent at Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter @alliecanal8193

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