One of the biggest problems that Disney+ has faced since it originally launched is how to get enough eyeballs to compete with other streaming services like Netflix, linear television, home entertainment, video games and social media.

Making original programming is a major way to get people onto a streaming service, but it’s not the only way; using library content, in addition to licensing shows and films from other studios, all help keep people engaged with Disney+. 

Over the past few years, we’ve seen Disney take more steps to try to increase the amount of time people spend on Disney+; this is vital for many reasons. People are more likely to unsubscribe to a streaming service if they rarely use it. But also, with advertising becoming a major revenue stream for Disney+, more watch time results in more income from commercials.

Most recently, in the United States, Hulu On Disney+ launched, which has already drastically increased how much time people spend within the app, matching what’s happened internationally since the introduction of the general entertainment hub, Star.

Only today, it was revealed that an ESPN hub is also going to be added to Disney+ in the United States later this year, offering a limited selection of sports programming as part of the standard subscription. ESPN+ On Disney+ is also going to be available.  All of which will help keep more people engaged with Disney+ and the Disney Streaming Bundle.

Recently, Disney CEO Bob Iger was asked during a quarterly financial call about how they are trying to increase engagement within Disney+, to which he replied:

I’m happy to talk about engagement a little bit on the platform. As I mentioned earlier, the things that we believe drive engagement and still represents significant incremental opportunity for us is, number one, programming. Having terrific programming is obviously the leading factor. And with what we’ve been introducing recently, whether it’s Shogun, whether it’s The Bear over the next couple of years on the TV side, and obviously, the terrific movie slate that’s right in front of us. As we window it into the streaming service, we think that’s going to do great things for engagement.

In addition to that, things like recommendation engines obviously increase engagement because people are getting more of a sense of what it is that they want to watch based on the suggestions that we make. In addition to that, we do see bundling as an opportunity, sports bundling, which is why we’re putting the ESPN tile on. In Latin America, we’re combining all into the Disney+ app. Again, all this is geared towards driving engagement. So, overall, you can be confident we’ve got laser-focused on driving engagement because we know it leads to subscriber satisfaction and it leads to lower churn over time.

Roger’s POV:  Without a doubt, you can see that Disney’s strategy for Disney+ is to go all in, bringing ESPN and Hulu content directly into Disney+ to make a single touchpoint for everyone in a single app.  This has multiple benefits. It does reduce the churn rate of people leaving since there are many more choices, and if people are in the app much more, they are much less likely to unsubscribe.   During the era when only Marvel and Star Wars shows were propping up the original content, most subscribers were only dropping into the app weekly for the latest episode, making it feel less valuable.  But if you’re in there daily, suddenly, the value looks much more appealing.

What do you think will improve the engagement within Disney+?   Let us know on social media!

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Roger Palmer

Roger has been a Disney fan since he was a kid and this interest has grown over the years. He has visited Disney Parks around the globe and has a vast collection of Disney movies and collectibles. He is the owner of What's On Disney Plus & DisKingdom. Email: Twitter: Facebook:

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