Disney+ to Reach 101M Subscribers by 2025, Study Forecasts

Disney+ Demo - H - 2019

Digital TV Research forecasts Netflix will have nearly 235.6 million subscribers, ahead of Amazon, Disney+, AT&T's HBO Max and Apple TV+ by then.

Five global subscription VOD platforms will have 529 million subscribers by 2025, led by Netflix, Amazon and Disney+, which launches Tuesday, according to new projections from Digital TV Research.

They will add 257 million subscribers between 2019 and 2025, "doubling their total," the research firm forecast.

Netflix will have nearly 235.6 million subscribers by 2025, Amazon 135.9 million, Disney+ nearly 101.2 million, AT&T's HBO Max 30.1 million and Apple TV+ 27.1 million, Digital TV Research predicted in its latest estimates.

"Disney+ will be the biggest winner by taking its total to 101 million subscribers," it said in its Monday report. "Netflix will increase by 70 million subscribers; revealing that there is still growth for the most established platform. However, Netflix will only add 6 million subscribers in the U.S."

"The SVOD sector received a boost in November...with the rollouts of Disney+ and Apple TV+," Digital TV Research also said. "A further lift will come when HBO Max starts in spring 2020." The firm didn't make forecasts for Comcast/NBCUniversal's Peacock, which is set to debut in spring but be advertising-funded.

It highlighted that HBO Max and Apple TV+ could have more customers when including nonpaying users. "HBO Max will have 30 million paying subscribers by 2025 — if non-payers are included then this figure could be tripled," Digital TV Research said. "The same is true for Apple TV+"

Said Simon Murray, principal analyst at Digital TV Research: "Competition is intense, with several platforms 'reclaiming' content from others and with price wars in place. Furthermore, there are several exclusive distribution deals."

The U.S. is "by far the most important single country for these platforms," but it is also "the most mature," the company highlighted." International markets are becoming increasingly significant." Said Murray: "Only 29 percent of Netflix's subscribers will be in the U.S. by 2025. The proportion will be as high as 80 percent for the younger HBO Max."

Disney and Verizon unveiled a giveaway pact to offer the phone giant's wireless and Internet customers a year of Disney+ for free from Nov. 12.

Michael Nathanson, analyst at MoffetNathanson, recently forecast that a deal to bundle Disney+ with Verizon hardware is part of a long-term plan to lose billions to launch the streaming service with more subscriber potential, rather than sell stuff to Netflix and other distributors, with a rebound in Disney's profitability and stock value starting

in 2024.