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Verizon to give away Disney+ to mobile, home broadband subs

The Walt Disney Company has locked in an important mobile and home broadband distribution deal with Verizon just ahead of the November 12 debut of the Disney+ subscription streaming service.

Under a pact announced Tuesday, Verizon will be the exclusive wireless carrier partner for Disney+, a service that will feature fare from Disney and The Mouse's various properties, including Pixar, Marvel, Star Wars and National Geographic. Disney+ will start at $6.99 per month.

Using a mix of direct-to-consumer marketing and pacts with distribution partners like Verizon, Disney+ hopes to draw a big crowd when the service debuts on November 12.  
(Image source: Disney)
Using a mix of direct-to-consumer marketing and pacts with distribution partners like Verizon, Disney+ hopes to draw a big crowd when the service debuts on November 12.
(Image source: Disney)

That deal sets the stage for Verizon to offer Disney+ for free for 12 months to all new and existing 4G LTE and 5G customers on unlimited wireless tiers, as well as to new Verizon Fios Home Internet and 5G Home Internet customers.

Verizon subs eligible for the giveaway also will have access to other features of Disney+, including access to up to four concurrent streams, downloads for offline viewing and the ability to set up seven individual viewer profiles. Disney+ is set to release more than 25 original series and ten original films and documentaries, including The Mandalorian, a series set in the Star Wars universe.

Financial terms were not announced, so it's not clear if Verizon is getting a cut from any new Disney+ subscribers that come through its door.

Why this matters
For Disney, the Verizon distribution deal complements its direct-to-consumer strategy because it will get Disney+ in front of millions of wireless and home broadband customers as the new streaming gets off the ground. It also follows a new TV carriage deal between Disney and Charter Communications that "contemplates" future distribution of Disney+ as well as Disney-owned Hulu and ESPN+.

For Verizon, the free Disney+ offer could provide a lift in new customers while also serving as a retention tool for both its wireless and home broadband services. It also builds on other Verizon-Disney partnerships and initiatives focused on Disney-owned parks and Disney Innovation Studios.

In addition, the Verizon-Disney pact is another example of the growing importance of exclusive, video-focused mobile distribution deals. Last week, T-Mobile signed on as the exclusive mobile distribution launch partner for Quibi, the short-form video startup founded by Jeffrey Katzenberg that's set to launch in April 2020.

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— Jeff Baumgartner, Senior Editor, Light Reading

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