Lin-Manuel Miranda’s hip-hop play Hamilton took Broadway by storm when it debuted over five years ago. Now that Disney Plus has exclusively brought the reimagining of the founding father’s life to television, there’s a chance for millions of viewers who couldn’t attend in person to see what all the hype is about. It could not have come at a better time for Disney’s streaming service – not only are people hungry for content during a global pandemic, but Disney Plus has needed another boost after the conclusion of The Mandalorian’s first season.
Hamilton arrived on Disney Plus on July 3, right on time for Independence Day, and the musical instantly gave the platform a boost, with the Disney Plus app seeing a 74% jump in downloads in the U.S. over the July 4th weekend, according to Apptopia data reported by Variety. As of May, Disney had gained more than 54 million subscribers to Disney Plus, and the company recently eliminated its free trial – meaning that anyone who wants to see Hamilton must subscribe. Retention remains the big question mark: will the influx of new subscriptions lead to more permanent growth or will viewers cancel after their one month is up?
One of Disney Plus’ big advantages is that it’s very affordable at just $6.99 per month or $69.99 annually. That can easily make it an impulse purchase for many consumers who want to expand their entertainment options, especially if they are fans of powerhouse brands like Star Wars and Marvel. According to Interpret’s New Media Measure®, Disney Plus has made significant inroads in the streaming market in a relatively short time. While Netflix commands nearly 50% of the U.S. market, Disney Plus had climbed to almost a quarter even before Hamilton’s debut, putting it ahead of Hulu and Hulu+LiveTV, but behind Amazon Prime Video. Disney Plus also boasts a smaller attrition rate than Netflix, which is to be expected given Netflix’s long-term status and higher pricing. If the platform can keep its customers around and avoid major price hikes, it may become a behemoth fitting of the Disney name.