Analysts were quick to react, with many raving that the low price creates serious competition for Netflix, Disney+ (which launches Nov. 12), and all the other players in the streaming wars.
Wedbush analyst Dan Ives put out a note calling the $4.99 price a “shocker” that “we loudly applaud,” since Wall Street was expecting a price in the $7.99 to $9.99 range. Ives calls the price a “major shot across the bow at the likes of Netflix and Disney, among others.” (Netflix and Disney shares both dropped after Apple announced its Apple TV+ pricing.)
Jack Roberts, an options trader with Simpler Trading, only half agrees. He is short on Netflix (NFLX) due to competitive threats (and, worth noting, bearish on the overall markets in the near-term due to trade tensions). But he likes Disney’s streaming outlook.
Disney+ (DIS) will “add about 10 million subscribers overnight,” Roberts predicts, and “is going to take significant share away from Netflix. We’ve already seen Netflix taking a huge hit... I think we’ll see Disney popping and going to higher highs, and Netflix slowly bleeding.”
The $4.99 price point for Apple TV+ is “very competitive, very strategic on Apple’s part,” Roberts said. “Right now it is a grab for the gold. Netflix is spending so much to create content, and some could argue a lot of their content is actually diluted. Apple is doing everything they can to be competitive—and they know the storm is coming here in fall of 2019.”
It’s worth mentioning that many banks and analysts, for now, sound bullish on both Netflix and Disney+ in the near term, and don’t buy the popular framing of one vs. the other. Many don’t see Apple TV+ as a risk to Netflix or Disney, despite its appealing low price. (The service has only touted five big original shows so far.)
“We don't see Apple TV+ in its current form as likely to disrupt Netflix's positioning,” write Bank of America analysts in a new note. “We believe that there will be only a handful of players who will be able sustain a global chase for OTT subscribers and think Netflix's incumbency and growth outlook remain secure, amid a massive lead on the competition.”
And Credit Suisse, in its latest survey, finds investors so bullish on Disney+ that expectations for subscribers have doubled since Disney Investor Day back in April.
Daniel Roberts is a senior writer at Yahoo Finance and closely covers streaming tech. Follow him on Twitter at @readDanwrite.