Q. I’ve been planning to give Disney Plus a try for the kids, but when I went to the site, I couldn’t find a free trial anywhere. What am I missing? How do I sign up for the free trial? — Chris, Brooklyn.
Chris, you’re not missing a thing, other than being able to watch the Disney+ lineup. The streaming service is no longer offering a free trial that would allow you to try it out before subscribing.
When Disney+ launched last November, it offered a seven-day free trial. This is commonplace in the still relatively new streaming industry due to the fierce competition for subscribers. For example, Netflix, Hulu and HBO Max all offer free trials of varying terms.
But Disney recently dropped the trial period, requiring new customers to start paying on day one.
Why is Disney+ bucking the norm?
1. Disney+, which costs $6.99 a month, has become an enormous success, generating more than 50 million subscribers as of last month. Company executives believe they no longer have to offer a free trial to entice new customers to come on board.
2. Disney+ next month will debut Hamilton, the cinematic version of the hugely popular stage play featuring Lin-Manuel Miranda. Many viewers might sign up for the free trial to watch Hamilton for free, and then cancel the service after seeing it. By eliminating the free trial now, Disney+ might get even more paying subscribers using Hamilton as a lure. (Note: Disney has the exclusive rights to the movie version of Hamilton so you can only watch it on Disney+.)
It would not surprise me if Disney resumed a free trial offer later this summer or in the fall after the excitement over Hamilton starts to fade. But for now, Chris, you’ll have to pay the first day.
Happy viewing, and stay safe!
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— Phillip Swann