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Disney Stock Rallies on August 29 ahead of Disney+ Launch

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At $133.21, Walt Disney stock is up 1.22% as of 3:27 PM EDT. Year-to-date through the closing bell on August 28, Disney (DIS) stock has gained 26%.

In contrast, Netflix stock is up only 9.0% so far this year. Dish Network (DISH) stock also has soared this year, up more than 33% through August 28. Dish stock has sprinted this year, as investors reacted to its efforts to enter the wireless phone service market.

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Disney stock up, UBS study shows high interest in Disney+

UBS released a study showing that interest in its Disney+ video streaming service may be stronger than previously understood. According to the study, which was reported by CNBC today, 43% of Americans intend to subscribe to Disney+. That makes Disney’s projection for Disney+ demand look conservative.

In April, Disney projected that its Disney+ service would have 60 million–90 million US subscribers by 2024. This estimate shows that Disney looked at 20%–40% US penetration for Disney+ by 2024.

Interest in Disney+ looks especially strong considering that the service is still months away from launch. Disney+ is slated to launch on November 12. Disney is withdrawing its movies from Netflix (NFLX) to offer them exclusively on its Disney+ service to boost its appeal.

D23 event launches Disney+ discounts

During its annual D23 event last weekend, Disney opened an opportunity for US residents to preorder Disney+ at a steep discount. Following the company’s D23 event, interest in Disney+ could be stronger than even the UBS study indicates.

Starting on August 26 through September, US residents can sign up for Disney+ for $46.99 a year, which is a considerable discount to the regular annual price of $69.99. The $46.99 annual price works out to about $3.92 a month. The regular monthly price for Disney+ would be $6.99 per month.

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Disney signals a price war with Netflix

Disney has indicated that it may wage a price war to try to attract subscribers from competitors such as Netflix. The $6.99 monthly pricing of Disney+ makes it competitive to both Netflix’s basic and standard plans, which cost $8.99 and $12.99, respectively.

Apple also plans to launch its video service called Apple TV Plus this fall. Bloomberg reported last week that Apple TV Plus could cost $9.99 a month, which would still make Disney+ a bargain at $6.99 a month.

Disney is signaling a price war at a time when its primary rival, Netflix, is already facing price resistance. A study released last month by Kill the Cable Bill showed that a quarter of Netflix subscribers think the service has become too expensive. In the second quarter, Netflix missed its subscriber addition targets as some customers resisted its price increases.

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