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Disney+ has attracted 73.7 million subscribers in its first 11 months, far exceeding the company’s expectations.
Disney had previously forecast that the family-friendly streaming service would reach between 60 million and 90 million subscribers by 2024. It hit the lower end of that threshold after just nine months.
Calling it a “real bright spot” for the Disney business, CEO Bob Chapek called out the success of Disney+ during its first year.
The service, which at $6.99 per month is on the lower end of the pricing spectrum for standalone streamers, has amassed its subscribers on the strength of its content library, which includes access to animated classics, Marvel blockbusters, the Star Wars franchise and more. It launched Nov. 12 with original series The Mandalorian, Jon Favreau’s take on the Star Wars universe featuring the incredibly memeable Baby Yoda character. Though some of the service’s high-profile Marvel originals have been delayed due to the coronavirus pandemic, it made up for the loss of new content by moving its Hamilton film to Disney+ over the summer and by releasing Beyonce’s Black Is King in July.
On Sept. 4, Disney also released its live-action Mulan remake for purchase on Disney + for a one-time “Premier Access” fee of $30. Disney has yet to share how Mulan performed but Chapek told investors during a conference call on Thursday that its performance was enough to show him that “we’ve got something here in terms of that Premier Access strategy.”
Disney+ is available in more than 20 countries around the world and will launch in Latin American markets including Brazil later this month. On the with investors, CFO Christine McCarthy said that Indian streamer Hotstar accounted for a quarter of Disney+’s subscribers. That equates to around 18 million of the service’s total paid members.
Still, Disney+ has a ways to go to catch up to Netflix’s 195 million global subscribers. It’s hard to compare its performance to other newly launched services. Apple has never disclosed how many subscribers Apple TV+ has attracted. NBCUniversal, meanwhile, has disclosed only that streamer Peacock — which offers both a free, ad-supported offering and a subscription tier — has 22 million users. And WarnerMedia has said 8.6 million people have activated HBO Max since May, but that HBO and HBO Max have a combined 38 million subscribers.
The company’s other streaming services also saw gains during its fiscal fourth quarter. Hulu grew its base by 28 percent to 36.6 million subscribers, including 4.1 million members to its live TV product. ESPN+ grew more than 100 percent to 10.3 million subscribers.
Chapek said Thursday that the company would provide its next Disney+ subscriber update during its Dec. 10 investor day, in which it is expected to lay out plans for a Star-branded international streaming service. In the past, the company has provided an update on subscriber numbers during its earnings calls.
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