How Disney+'s Launch Affected Netflix Usage

the world according to jeff goldblum smiling disney+
(Image credit: Disney+)
(Image credit: Disney+)

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The streaming war has picked up in a big way in November thanks to the long-awaited launch of Disney+, which offers tons of beloved shows and movies from the Disney vault as well as the first live-action Star Wars series, a show all about Jeff Goldblum, and more. A big question on the minds of many consumers (and likely execs as well) is whether Netflix, previously the undisputed king of streaming, would fall while Disney+ rises. Well, according to the numbers from Week 1 of Disney+, Netflix is doing just fine... for now.

The launch of Disney+ on November 12 had "little to no impact" on average trends of Netflix usage, according to analysts from the Credit Suisse financial services company (via Variety) in a report from November 18, which is good (if early) news for Netflix stockholders. The data used to support this conclusion comes from Sensor Tower app downloads as well as Google search data rather than any internal numbers from either Disney+ or Netflix.

According to the Sensor Tower app download data, Disney+ accumulated 4 million downloads of the app on November 12, which decreased to approximately 1.5 million per day over the weekend of November 16-17, while Netflix app downloads did not change. For Netflix, the average daily download is more than 70,000 per day, and that was consistent through the first week of Disney+'s availability. If you haven't already downloaded Disney+ and are interested, you can use this link for a free 7-day trial.

While obviously 1.5 million and 4 million are much better than 70,000 when it comes to downloads, there can be little doubt that Disney+'s rate of app download will decrease as the weeks pass and the buzz around the launch dies down.

Netflix has been around for quite a long time; averaging 70,000 isn't shabby at all, and downloads during Disney+'s launch week were actually up 7% from the average of the previous four weeks. That said, with only a week of data from Disney+ app downloads, Netflix execs and stockholders shouldn't break out the party hats and champagne just yet.

Disney+ has only been live since November 12. Early numbers and pre-Disney+ Netflix trends aren't going to be solid indicators of how these two streamers are going to fare when they go head-to-head in the long run. The numbers that will make all the difference won't be available until Disney+ has been live for a long enough span of time to create a comparable average to Netflix numbers.

That said, the buzz for Disney+ might not die down any time soon. There are a lot of high-profile originals in the works to debut after The Mandalorian wraps its first season, and the MCU offerings on top of the additional live-action and animated Star Wars TV content could keep people talking and subscribing far more than Netflix. After all, Netflix churns out a whole lot of originals on a regular basis, and there's not too much buzz around new shows or seasons not involving the Upside Down.

Only time will tell what happens next in the streaming wars. HBO Max and Peacock still have yet to join the fray, which already includes Hulu, Amazon, CBS All Access, and more on top of Disney+ and Amazon.

Laura Hurley
Senior Content Producer

Laura turned a lifelong love of television into a valid reason to write and think about TV on a daily basis. She's not a doctor, lawyer, or detective, but watches a lot of them in primetime. CinemaBlend's resident expert and interviewer for One Chicago, the galaxy far, far away, and a variety of other primetime television. Will not time travel and can cite multiple TV shows to explain why. She does, however, want to believe that she can sneak references to The X-Files into daily conversation (and author bios).