Disney+ Premier Access: Raya & The Last Dragon

As studios continue to assess their best way to release new films, Disney+ remains the only large Streamer to offer certain marquee titles directly on its SVOD platform for an additional charge on top of the monthly subscription fee. Disney, which also owns ESPN, has utilized in-app purchases on top of standard subscription fees for years — ESPN+ has hosted pay-per-view UFC fights since 2018.

Antenna observed the purchase behavior surrounding the Disney+ Premier Access window:

Raya & The Last Dragon received 20% fewer PVOD purchases than Mulan in each film’s respective opening weekend. Importantly, Mulan was not released in theaters domestically when it debuted on Disney+, whereas Raya & The Last Dragon premiered simultaneously on Disney+ and theatrically.

The release of Raya & The Last Dragon did not drive a notable spike in Sign-ups to Disney+. Antenna observed a 30% drop in Sign-ups on opening weekend (March 5–7) compared to the previous four weekends. Mulan, on the other hand, drove more than double the Sign-ups versus its previous four weekend benchmark. The Premier Access titles bookended the releases of The Mandalorian (Season 2), Soul, and WandaVision, which were released to Disney+ at no additional cost to Subscribers.

Additional Insights:

  • Purchaser Profile: Disney enthusiasts drove the majority of PVOD transactions for both films. Nearly 60% of users who purchased Raya & The Last Dragon joined Disney+ in the first two months after the service launched in late 2019. As was also the case with Mulan, over 70% of those purchases came from users who joined Disney+ in November/December of 2019.
  • Repeat PVOD Purchasing: There is significant crossover in the audiences of the two films. 1 in 5 users who purchased Mulan also purchased Raya & The Last Dragon. A quarter of Raya & The Last Dragon purchases came from users who purchased Mulan in September 2020.
  • Disney In-App Purchase: On Saturday March 6th, both Disney+ (Raya & The Last Dragon) and ESPN+ (UFC 259) offered in-app purchases. Raya & The Last Dragon earned nearly triple the amount of purchases as UFC 259. The MMA event was available for purchase at more than double the cost of the $29.99 film.

Subscription businesses are strengthened primarily by growing Subscribers and/or increasing the value of existing Subscribers. Now with over 100M Subscribers globally, Disney+ continues to experiment in expanding ARPU for that base via the ‘Premier Access’ window. Earlier this week, the company announced that Black Widow from Marvel and Cruella will debut day-and-date theatrically and on Disney+ Premier Access.

Antenna will be measuring the performance of these releases, along with other studios’ windowing strategies (e.g. Universal/AMC TVOD), as well as the overall impact of the Disney streaming price hike (link).

Brendan Brady is a Content Strategy Associate at Antenna, a measurement and analytics company providing insight into purchase behavior and subscription metrics across the new media landscape.