Editor’s note: Leigh Admirand is senior vice president and founding partner at research consultancy Reach3 Insights.

As it prepares to challenge Netflix, Disney is counting on loyal fans to help it make a big splash. As reported by The Wall Street Journal, Disney superfans were invited to the company’s D23 convention this summer to get a preview of its streaming service, Disney+. Consumers who signed up for the service at the conference, or the week after by creating a free D23 account, received a deeply discounted, three-year deal that brings the monthly cost to half that of Netflix or Hulu. 

Disney’s decision to engage its biggest fans is a smart move – it demonstrates to investors that there’s real appetite for Disney+ even before it officially launches. For fans, the big discount is a huge plus. 

A quick look at the OTT video streaming market reveals why Disney is very keen to incentivize its fans to sign up now. This is a market that’s quickly becoming competitive. In addition to Disney and Apple, traditional media conglomerates such as WarnerMedia and NBCUniversal have big plans to get a piece of the streaming pie.

To get a more in-depth look at the streaming space, we conducted a study this summer exploring current consumer attitudes, behaviors and attitudes in this space. The video and open-ended responses we got from research participants were particularly telling, providing interesting lessons for all marketers trying to build brands in an emerging, competitive landscape. 

Our study explored the brand personalities of Netflix, Disney and Apple. We focused on these three since Netflix is the biggest incumbent, and Disney and Apple are the two up-and-coming challengers.  

Among current players in the space, Netflix is the most popular and most liked. Our study found that 87% of video streamers are subscribed to Netflix, 59% are subscribed to Amazon Prime Video and 47% have ...