Disney and Nintendo Get a Boost as Parents Try to Keep Kids Entertained

Disney+ sign-ups and Nintendo Switch sales have spiked amid COVID-19 lockdowns, and so have downloads for kid-friendly mobile games.
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As COVID-19 lockdowns drive major increases in digital content consumption, kid and family-friendly products and services appear to be among the biggest winners.

Disney  (DIS) - Get Report provided more evidence of this trend on Wednesday evening, when it disclosed that Disney+ has racked up more than 50 million paid subscribers since launching last November. By comparison, Disney+ had just 28.6 million paid subs as of Feb. 3, and 26.5 million at the end of Disney’s December quarter.

As of the time of this article, Disney’s beaten-up stock is up 3.5% in Thursday trading, easily eclipsing the S&P 500’s 0.7% gain.

Disney+’s recent European launches contributed to its recent subscriber growth. After previously being available only in the U.S., Canada, Australia, New Zealand and the Netherlands, Disney+ launched on March 24 in the U.K., Germany, Spain, Italy, Ireland, Austria and Switzerland.

A French launch took place on April 7, though with Disney+ providing a 7-day free trial, French subs presumably aren’t yet part of the service’s paid subscriber count.

Also potentially aiding subscriber growth: Disney+’s aggressive pricing might be making it an especially popular purchase for consumers looking to inexpensively avail themselves of more entertainment while lockdowns continue. Whereas Netflix’s  (NFLX) - Get Report popular, HD-capable, Standard plan costs $12.99 per month in the U.S., Disney+ costs just $6.99 per month or $69.99 ($5.83 per month) when purchased on an annual basis, while supporting 4K streaming and the ability to simultaneously stream to four devices.

But at a time when parents and kids alike are often stuck at home, it’s quite likely that the kid-friendly nature of much of Disney+’s library is also contributing a lot to its subscriber surge.

Nintendo  (NTDOY)  investors are probably benefiting from the same dynamic. The Japanese gaming giant’s stock is now up on the year thanks to soaring demand for the Nintendo Switch console amid COVID-19 lockdowns. With the kid-friendly Switch sold out at major retailers and commanding large premiums relative to its $299 MSRP on marketplaces such as eBay, Nintendo is scrambling to hike production.

Kid-friendly mobile games are also in favor. App data provider App Annie’s current leaderboards for the most popular App Store and Google Play games are filled with kid-friendly titles such as Fishdom, Minion Rush and Nintendo's Mario Kart Tour.

Notably, board games such as Monopoly, Life and Clue are also a common sight on the leaderboards. And Microsoft’s  (MSFT) - Get Report Minecraft, which has long been embraced by many schools, remains the most popular paid game on both the App Store and Google Play.

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