Walt Disney Co. is throwing a birthday party for a toddler in true Disney fashion. The Disney+ streaming service turns two on Friday and the entertainment giant is celebrating with new movies, TV shows and other promotions.
Among the benefits is an offer of one month of service for new and returning subscribers for just $2 starting Monday. Programming rolling out Friday includes “Home Sweet Home Alone,” an online-only sequel to the 1990 film, and “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings,” which was previously only available in theaters.
Disney’s other divisions are also joining the celebration. U.S. theme parks are allowing Disney+ subscribers to enter 30 minutes early on Friday. Its online store will offer subscribers free shipping, and Disney’s publishing arm is selling ebooks for 99-cents. The company will also unveil a new line of collectible NFTs.
Meanwhile, shoppers at Target Corp. will get special gifts if they sign up for the Disney+ service in stores and AMC Entertainment Holdings Inc.’s theaters will host special $5 screenings with promotional gifts.
Disney Chief Executive Officer Bob Chapek needs to keep customers engaged with what has become one of the company’s most important businesses and a big driver of its stock price. Disney+, which costs $8 a month, features movies from the company’s Pixar, Marvel and Star Wars brands as well as original TV shows such as “The Mandalorian.” It has quickly grown to more than 116 million subscribers worldwide.
Still, Chapek cautioned in September that Disney+ subscribers for the quarter would increase by a number in the low single-digit millions, far less than what analysts had been projecting. He cited challenges getting new shows made during the pandemic, a slower-than-planned ramp up in Latin America, and a high churn among Indian consumers who made up nearly 40% of subscribers worldwide.
Disney is due to report earnings on Wednesday.