Advanced Television

Disney+ surpasses 50m paid subs

April 9, 2020

Disney has reported that its Disney+ SVoD platform now has over 50 million paid subscribers globally – five months after the service launched in select markets.

“We’re truly humbled that Disney+ is resonating with millions around the globe, and believe this bodes well for our continued expansion throughout Western Europe and into Japan and all of Latin America later this year,” said Kevin Mayer, Chairman of Walt Disney Direct-to-Consumer & International. “Great storytelling inspires and uplifts, and we are in the fortunate position of being able to deliver a vast array of great entertainment rooted in joy and optimism on Disney+.”

Disney+ initially rolled out in the US, Canada and The Netherlands on November 12th 2019. A week later it also became available in Australia, New Zealand and Puerto Rico. In the past two weeks, Disney+ rolled out in eight Western European countries including the UK, Ireland, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Austria, and Switzerland. Additionally, Disney+ became available last week in India, where it is offered in conjunction with the existing Hotstar service.

“Disney+ is a blockbuster hit with users,” notes Paolo Pescatore, TMT analyst at PP Foresight, who predicted the broadcaster was going to “smash” its own publicly-announced subscriber target.

“The biggest challenge will always be keeping users entertained,” he suggests. “It is fair to say that many users would have signed up to the annual offer or bundles on both sides of the pond. This will help maintain its total base steady for the first year. However, Disney and others are not immune to the current challenges of filming new shows. This will have a knock on effect next year,” he advises. “All eyes are now on Netflix’s first quarter results to see if Disney+ has had a negative impact on its subs base (especially in North America)”.

Analysts at Futuresource Consulting estimate that of the 50 million, approximately 30 million of these are in the US, whilst in the UK,the number of subscribers is now likely to be approaching 4 million. Disney+ Hotstar’s recent rebranding ahead of its delayed launched on April 3rd has been the key contributor in hitting this 50 million milestone early, with 8 million subscribers announced.

The firm also suggests that Covid-19 has provided a major boost, particularly amongst families with younger children. In addition, the current scenario has convinced many of those who were previously intending to sign up, to make the jump earlier than they had planned.

In its original November launch markets, the combination of the lockdown and availability early release titles such as Frozen II and Onward have further boosted growth in recent weeks.

According to Futuresource, around 90 per cent of Disney+ subscribers in the US also use Netflix, whilst almost all subscribers already pay for at least one other SVoD service, which indicates that Disney+ is very much complementary to existing services, although it will take an increasing share of viewing.

“A key objective for Disney is driving continued subscriber growth in these markets after such an impressive start, but perhaps more importantly, retaining these subscribers in the second half of 2020 – fresh content will be key to this,” it concludes.


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