Disney’s shining star now boasts over 100 million subscribers, with over 100 originals planned for release during 2021 as a whole.
Disney+ now officially has over 100 million subscribers, a magnificent feat for a streaming service that isn’t even two and a half years old yet. Just for reference, 100 million subscribers makes Disney+ the fourth biggest service in the world, just behind Netflix, Prime Video, iQiyi (a Chinese service), and Tencent Video (another Chinese service).
This milestone was announced by Disney executives during the company’s annual shareholders meeting. The update was the first update on Disney+ subscribers since Disney’s first quarter earnings in January 2nd, with just over 94 million subscribers. Although there wasn’t any information on what pushed Disney+ over 100 million subscribers, it’s likely a result of the company’s strive in original content, such as with their most recent hit, WandaVision.
Disney CEO Bob Chapek had released a statement on the success of the service, saying
“The enormous success of Disney Plus — has inspired us to be even more ambitious, and to significantly increase our investment in the development of high-quality content; In fact, we set a target of more than 100 new titles per year, and this includes Disney Animation, Disney Live Action, Marvel, Star Wars, and National Geographic.”
Disney’s success has been astonishing. Their share price has more than doubled since March lows, mostly building off of the hype over the future of Disney+. Netflix CEO Reed Hastings has even gone as far as to recognize Disney+ as a threat to Netflix, congratulating them. This was even after originally predicting the service couldn’t get 60 million subscribers within the first year.
Even Disney wasn’t (theoretically) expecting this success. Executives had a subscriber goal of 60-90 million subscribers by 2024. After blowing that number out of the water, in under a year, the company then upper estimated to between 300-350 million subscribers, across Disney+, Hulu, ESPN+, Star+, and Hotstar by 2024.
To boost subscriber numbers and maintain loyalty, Chapek had continued, explaining Disney’s new focus on Disney+ as a major part of the company: “Direct-to-consumer business is the company’s top priority, and our robust pipeline of content will continue to fuel its growth.”
Disney even has multiple films, series, and brands in development, likely to help bolster their growing service’s original content library. This is a great point for Disney, as Disney IPs and content have been famous and revered for years, a big sticking point for many subscribing to Disney+.
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There’s one slight issue with Disney+ however. 100 million subscribers is an amazing achievement. I’m not taking anything away from the company over that. The real problem comes from monetizing Disney+. In December, Disney’s CFO Christine McCarthy announced that 30% of Disney+’s subscriber base came from Disney+Hotstar, a lower-priced alternative.
Having service subcategories with a lower ARPU (average revenue per user), can drag down the overall revenue from a service, something that Disney needs to be able to justify their growing service. It’ll be very interesting to hear how much money Disney makes from Disney+, and Statural will make sure to get back to you with the numbers as soon as we can.
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