Thursday, February 11, 2021



When Disney announced plans to launch its own exclusive digital streaming service, pulling out its online content from other streaming platforms to consolidate them there behind user subscriptions, it seemed like a significant risk. At the time, it did not seem reasonable for a media company to keep all its digital content on their own online playpen, with the promise of new original stuff as incentive. Disney however was confident that their plan will work. Of course, they did have some modest goals, such as a subscriber milestone that they estimated will take about four years to reach. It turns out they underestimated themselves too.

According to The Verge, the four-year subscriber count that the House of Mouse expected for their Disney+ digital platform needed just over a year to be reached, and surpassed. This was made clear by the media giant during their Q1 2021 earnings report. They pegged sometime in late 2023 for their service’s subscribers to reach the 90 million mark. But as of January 2021 Disney+ already has 94.9 million subscribers. That number is spread out across the Americas, Western Europe, Scandinavia, India, Japan, and ANZAC, as well as North Africa and the Middle East (the last two via third-party distributors).

Several factors have been considered as for the massive spike in subscriptions for Disney+ when its scope of media is technically limited compared to Netflix or Hulu. There is the positive reception to its original programming, particularly the “Star Wars” spinoff series “The Mandalorian.” Then there is the fact that some film releases for 2020 that were botched on account of the COVID pandemic were streamed digitally at Disney+ instead. Examples include the Disney-Pixar animated film “Soul,” a nominee for the coming Golden Globe Awards, as well as the cinematic recording of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s “Hamilton.”

With more Disney+ originals such as the MCU series “WandaVision” already playing alongside existing content coming as far back as years and decades of Disney production history, it is no dream if, as more markets are opened to the streaming service the subscriber count reaches 100 million before the year is out. In fact, given that their four-year milestone was already reached, Disney is setting a new mark of anywhere from 230 to 260 million subs by the year 2024. They are even confident enough to raise subscription rates from the starting $6.99, as effective March 26 it will be $7.99 monthly or $79.99 yearly to get access to Disney+.

Image courtesy of Deadline


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