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Disney+ Changes France Launch Date, Netflix Shows Strength

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Walt Disney (NYSE:DIS) has changed its mind on the Disney+ launch date in France and other European countries. The company announced the new Disney+ launch date for Europe the same day that Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX) reported strong fourth-quarter earnings.

Disney+ will now launch in France on March 24—one week earlier than the original date of March 31. The service will also launch in the UK, Ireland, Germany, Italy, Spain, Austria, and Switzerland on March 24. Disney+ will cost 6.99 euros a month in France.

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Disney+ first launched in the US, Canada, and the Netherlands on November 12. The service arrived in Australia and New Zealand a week later. However, the launches in the US and Australia ran into challenges. There were reports of accounts getting hacked. The service also suffered technical challenges during the debut.

However, the hitches didn’t stop Disney+ from signing up more than 10 million subscribers on the first day. The number of subscribers was a milestone for a new service coming into a market where Netflix has existed for decades.

Disney plans to report its earnings for the first quarter of fiscal 2020 on February 4. The company will share the latest Disney+ subscriber figures. Analysts think that the service will end 2020 with over 20 million subscribers after luring away more than a million customers from Netflix.

Netflix’s earnings report masks Disney+ threat

Netflix reported its fourth-quarter earnings on Tuesday. The report showed that the company beat both its own and Wall Street’s expectations on all of the key performance indicators. For example, Netflix added 8.8 million subscribers in the fourth quarter, which beat its own forecast for 7.6 million subscribers. The company added a similar number of subscribers a year ago—long before Disney+ came to the scene. Therefore, Netflix’s earnings report didn’t show any signs that it’s losing ground to Disney+.

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In addition to Disney+, Apple also launched its Apple TV+ service in November to challenge Netflix. Apple TV+ and Disney+ are priced aggressively. They cost $4.99 a month and $6.99 a month, respectively. Netflix’s cheapest plan costs $8.99 a month, while people’s favorite plan costs $12.99 a month. Rivals’ aggressive pricing threatened to increase Netflix’s challenges. Customers are starting to reject the company’s prices. According to a Kill the Cable Bill study, Netflix customers in the US think that the service is too expensive. Former Netflix customers said that they canceled their subscriptions to the service due to the price.

France’s Canal+ to support rollout in the country

For Disney, Disney+ is its most important product in more than a decade. The company is going to great lengths to promote the service. Disney brought its massive marketing machine behind Disney+ and excluded Netflix from its television networks. In an apparent bid to jumpstart the uptake of Disney+ in France, Disney partnered with leading French pay-TV provider Canal+ to distribute the service in the country.

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