A not so happy Tuesday for streaming giant Netflix (NFLX) and telecoms AT&T (T) and T-Mobile (TMUS). But smiles all around for soon-to-be original content streamer Disney (DIS) and cable TV and wireless provider Verizon Communications (VZ).
Verizon disclosed Tuesday it will become the exclusive wireless carrier to offer 12 months of free Disney+ for all new and existing 4G LTE and 5G unlimited wireless subscribers. The company will also offer 12 months free of Disney+ to its new FIOS home internet and 5G home internet customers.
The partnership will kick off Nov. 12 when Disney+ — Disney’s $6.99 a month hotly anticipated streaming service — is set to debut to the public.
“Giving Verizon customers an unprecedented offer and access to Disney+ on the platform of their choice is yet another example of our commitment to provide the best premium content available through key partnerships on behalf of our customers,” said Verizon Chairman and CEO Hans Vestberg in a statement. “Our work with Disney extends beyond Disney+ as we bring the power of 5G Ultra Wideband technology to the entertainment industry through exciting initiatives with Disney Innovation Studios and in the parks.”
Added Kevin Mayer, chairman direct to consumer and international at Disney, “The launch of Disney+ kicks off a new era of streaming for The Walt Disney Company, bringing nearly a century’s worth of content from our iconic studios to consumers directly. We’re excited to share this moment with Verizon and bring Disney+ to the millions of customers across its award-winning wireless network.”
The deal could easily be viewed as a win-win for both parties.
For Disney, it instantly gets arguably its most important product launch in decades into the hands of millions of consumers... provided they are Verizon subscribers. That could prove to be bad news for Disney+ expected rival Netflix, which is only a week removed from missing Wall Street’s third quarter U.S. subscriber forecasts due to a price hike earlier in the year. Moreover, Disney+ will arrive as Verizon is seen by many experts as leading the pack on the rollout of high-speed 5G internet. By yearend, Verizon is on track to have 5G live in 30 major U.S. cities. The high-speed connection should help consumers enjoy the Disney+ viewing experience to the fullest extent impossible.
As for Verizon, it’s yet another creative content partnership that could help leverage its FIOS TV subscriber base without the need for major investment. In April, Verizon inked a deal for its customers to subscribe to Google’s YouTube TV across its FIOS and wireless businesses.
At the bare minimum, the 12-month exclusivity window could drive wireless subscribers to Verizon amid the buzz surrounding Disney+.
Disclosure: Verizon Communications is the parent company of Verizon Media, which includes Yahoo Finance.