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Disney+ racks up 95 million subscribers: here’s what you need to know

Disney+ has seen tremendous growth in its first year of business

Disney+ has hit the ground running after signing up close to 95 million subscribers in a little over a year of operation.

Divulging the numbers in its latest quarterly financial report, Disney will take comfort from a rapid growth trajectory which arms it with a formidable streaming platform that can compete with market leader Netflix.

The unwavering success of Disney+

  • With increased subscribers come increased revenues; Disney has drawn $3.5bn from direct to consumer services such as Hulu and ESPN+, a 73% increase on the previous year, although Disney+ cannot claim all the credit as it did not launch until November 2019.

  • Considering all Disney direct to consumer properties as one, the house of mouse topped an impressive 146m paid streaming subscribers.

  • Lauding the pace of progress Disney chief executive Bob Chapek praised the ’incredible strides’ represented by the figures in cornering a healthy chunk of the streaming sector.

  • Disney’s streaming success offsets another disastrous quarter for the group’s theme parks and film studios, which have been forced into hibernation until the pandemic can be brought under control.

  • Over the three months to 2 January, revenue from these mainstay sectors fell 22% to $16.2bn, outpacing catastrophic predictions from Wall Street that net profits would slide 99% to a scant $18m.

Why it matters

  • Upon launch, Disney+ set itself the target of hitting 90m subscribers by 2024, a tally it has now shot past with ease in a mere 15 months.

  • This translates to a year-on-year increase of 258% and follows a signature year for the entertainment juggernaut fueled by a housebound consumer base scrabbling around for new entertainment mediums.

  • Flush with this success an emboldened Disney has penciled in price rises for new subscribers that will take effect from 23 February to a flat $7.99 in the US and UK – up from $6.99 and £5.99 before the hike.

  • Disney is far from finished in this area either, with the looming launch of Star, a Hulu replacement for international customers, launching across Europe, Canada and New Zealand on 23 February.

  • Disney is also prepping its newest property Reya and the Last Dragon to premiere on Disney+ for a paid premium on 5 March alongside the latest additions to the Marvel juggernaut; The Falcon and the Winter Soldier in March and Loki in May.

  • To retain its newly acquired audiences Disney is also preparing to unleash no less than 10 new Star Wars shows, a further 10 Marvel series and 15 live-action, animation and Pixar features.

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