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While The Walt Disney Co.’s Disney+ streaming service may have hit a speed bump as of late, it will reach more subscribers than Netflix by 2025, according to an analyst’s latest forecast.
Research firm Digital TV Research shared the prediction in a report, projecting that the number of subscribers to Disney+ would reach 284.2 million in 2026, down from a 294.0 million estimate the firm had made earlier in the year. In 2026, Netflix will have 270.7 million subscribers, down from an earlier estimate of 286.0 million. In a February report, the firm had forecast that Disney+’s user base would surpass Netflix’s in 2026.
“Three platforms will control nearly half the world’s SVOD subscriptions by 2026,” according to Digital TV Research. “Disney+ will be the biggest winner, overtaking Netflix in 2025. Disney+ will add 140 million subscribers between 2021 and 2026 to bring its total to 284 million. About 121 million of Disney+’ subscribers (43 percent of its total) in 2026 will be in the 13 Asian countries under the Hotstar brand.”
Netflix, which Wall Street analysts have lauded for hit content from outside the U.S., such as South Korean original series Squid Game, will add 53 million customers by 2026, “revealing growth even for the most established platform,” and Amazon Prime will hit 243.4 million users, the research firm predicts.
It also estimates that China’s Tencent will end 2026 with 98.7 million users, HBO with 76.3 million and Apple TV+ with 35.6 million.
Overall, global SVOD subscriptions will increase by 491 million between 2021 and 2026 to reach 1.64 billion, Digital TV Research now projects. China and the U.S. will account for 49 percent of the global total then, down from 56 percent in 2021.
“China and the U.S. had a similar number of subscriptions by end-2020,” said Simon Murray, principal analyst at Digital TV Research. “Due to government pressure, China’s growth is decelerating, with 354 million subscriptions expected by 2026. The U.S. will continue to grow, with 450 million subscriptions expected by 2026.”
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