Disney+ launched amid great fanfare across Central and Eastern Europe in June 2022.
Although it is hard to ascertain how it is now performing in the region, some things seem quite clear.
Thanks to its strong brand name and offer, it has been quickly able to establish itself in many markets. In Poland, for instance, it was watched, according to Nielsen, by 1.9 million people in the first seven days. Today it is the second most viewed streaming service in the country among internet users after Netflix, with its closest challenger being HBO Max.
Meanwhile in the Czech Republic and Slovakia, atmedia has found that Netflix was the most used paid streaming service in both countries in the second half of last year. It was followed – some distance behind – by HBO Max, Voyo and what was then the newcomer Disney+. Fast forward to today, and Netflix is still likely to be in first place, with CME’s Voyo making significant progress and Disney+ still very much in the picture.
However, looking at the bigger picture Walt Disney embarked on major restructuring earlier this year, prompted in no so part by the news that Disney+ had lost subscribers for the first time since its debut in November 2019. This included cuts to its workforce, some of which are known to have already taken place in Poland.
Walt Disney’s latest results show that Disney+ continues to lose subscribers, though the overwhelming majority have been for its Hotstar service in India. Although its figures for CEE are undisclosed, the streaming service is probably still performing quite well across the region.
It should probably come as no surprise that Disney+ is now going down the same route as Netflix in introducing an ad supported tier. It will be rolled out in Canada and “select markets in Europe” – though not yet CEE – on November 1.
Walt Disney’s CEO Bob Iger has pointed out that 40% of new Disney+ subscribers are already choosing an ad-supported option in the US. Given that Disney+ subscription fees are being increased across Europe towards in the end of the year, the option will almost certainly prove attractive to viewers in CEE once it becomes available.
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