Verizon CEO calls Disney+ promotion a ‘win-win’

Verizon is revealing any specific numbers yet about how its Disney+ promotion is going, but CEO Hans Vestberg did call it a “win-win” for both companies.

On Fox Business Network’s “Mornings with Maria,” Vestberg said the partnership fits into Verizon’s current strategy of offering its network as a service.

“We know we are the best network, the best distribution and the greatest best brand. We can partner with anyone, and we partner with the best brands and, of course, Disney+ is a win-win. I mean, we are gaining and they are gaining in this partnership. We have not disclosed our numbers, and I know Disney has done it in the beginning. I think we both are very happy with the, sort of, the start of it,” Vestberg said.

Disney said after Disney+ launched in November that it amassed 10 million sign-ups after one day of business. But it’s unclear how many of those became paying subscribers after Disney's own seven-day free trial period, and how many of those came to the platform because of Verizon’s promo. The carrier is giving away a free year of Disney+ to some of its wireless and in-home internet customers.

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“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 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.”

Most of the major U.S. wireless providers have partnership deals with video services. Sprint gives away Hulu to its unlimited wireless subscribers. AT&T will give away HBO Max (a service which it owns and operates) to some of its wireless subscribers. T-Mobile offers a “Netflix On Us” deal where it covers $10.99 per month of Netflix charges for some of its wireless subscribers.

When asked recently about Verizon’s Disney+ deal, outgoing T-Mobile CEO John Legere didn’t mince words about how that deal compares with his company’s Netflix offer.

“So, I think it’s not exactly something other than the vice president of copy and paste at Verizon looked over at our Netflix on Us success, and did a horrific job of creating it,” said Legere during an earnings call in October. “And I don’t know but last time I checked, nine out of 10 people who watch Disney cartoons don’t make wireless decisions.”