Disney Now Has 150 Million Subscribers

Disney+ is up to almost 100 million subscribers already, bringing in over $3.5 billion for Q4 with the rest of Disney’s streaming offerings.

Credit | Walt Disney Pictures

Disney announced Thursday, the 11th, that Disney+, its top streaming service, surpassed 94.9 million subscribers, blowing past its original four-year estimate in under one and a half years. This was announced through the company’s earnings report for the Q1 December 2020 quarter. The company’s stock is up between 1-3% after hours.

Destroying expectations

Disney+ broke the company’s original subscriber goal of 60 to 90 million subscribers by 2024 back in November 2020, resulting in some major estimate increases. Disney now expects for Disney+ to have between 230 and 260 million subscribers by 2024, almost a 4X increase.

The company’s Chief Financial Officer, Christine McCarthy, has said that Disney will no longer regularly provide subscriber updates, as it’s been more than a year since the service’s launch. She has said that Disney may announce major milestones in the future, helping to continue providing a general outline of the service’s success.

Disney+ keeps growing

Disney has seen insane growth for their three major streaming services, with especially high results with their main service, Disney+. Within a day of the service’s launch in November 2019, Disney+ attracted over 10 million sign-ups, a massive amount for any service, let alone a new service on its first day.

Within the rest of Q1 2020, Disney collected more than 26.5 million subscribers, pushing up to 33.5 million by the second quarter. That jumped 24 million more, up to a whopping 57.5 million subscribers by the third quarter. These few months led Disney+ into the top ranks when it came to subscriber counts, letting it stand out in an increasingly complicated and crowding streaming industry.

Jump forward to the 4th quarter, and Disney+ has 73.7 million subscribers, pushing towards 86.6 million by December. That placed it at number 5 for the biggest services by subscriber count, or third for major services within the United States. Obviously that increased even more, up to 94.9 million subscribers within the next month, almost a 10 million subscriber increase, even beating out heavyweights like Netflix.

While Disney doesn’t specify how many subscribers come from external sources such as Verizon deals, or through bundles such as their own Disney+ bundle, there’s a big likelihood that the majority of subscribers are still first-party subscriber to individual services.

Disney+ isn’t the only service growing though

Disney+ was the most impressive of Disney’s three major services this last year, although it wasn’t the only notable one. ESPN+ grew 83% from 6.6 to 12.1 million subscribers, while Hulu grew 30% from 30.4 to 39.4 million subscribers. While that still pales compared to Disney’s 358% increase, it’s definitely still noteworthy.

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ESPN+’s high growth is generally attributed to Disney’s 3 service bundle, as you can get 3 services for the price of Disney and Hulu. The weird thing however, is that ESPN+’s revenue per subscriber increased 1% from $4.44 to $4.48, which would be the opposite of an increased reliance on the Disney bundle.

Hulu grew as well, but with higher quality and more frequent originals, such as The Handmaid’s Tale or Palm Springs. Hulu SVOD (standard video on demand), grew 30% from 27.2 to 35.4 million subs, while the more expensive Hulu Live TV + SVOD grew 25% from 3.2 to 4 million subscribers. SVOD grew from $13.15 to $13.51 (3% growth) in revenue per user, while Live TV grew 26% from $59.47 to $75.11 in revenue per user.

Overall, 2020 was a great year for Disney’s growing services, although not for the rest of the company. Revenues sank over 20% on average, with theme park revenue dropping over 50%. Hopefully, these services will continue to grow, providing more reason for Disney to add more content and increase the value for its subscribers.

Statural will report more on Disney as news rolls in, so make sure to check back soon for more information.

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