Disney surpassed a milestone this quarter, topping 100 million subscribers to its streaming services in the US for the first time in early Q4 2021, according to research firm Ampere Analysis. By the end of this quarter, the wide content portfolio and aggressive pricing offered by the Disney+, Hulu and ESPN+ bundle will further boost customer numbers, says the firm.
Disney surpassed the 50 million US subscriptions milestone in Q4 2019 following the launch of Disney+ and two years later, hit the 100 million milestone, with both Hulu and Disney+ on track to finish the year in excess of 40 million subscriptions. ESPN+ is expected to finish 2021 with more than 20 million subscriptions, nearly six times more than at the end of Q3 2019, before the launch of Disney+. Ampere estimates that the domestic US client base of the three services will reach around 108 million subscriptions by the end of the year, up from around 99 million at the end of Q3 2021.
“The Disney+, Hulu and ESPN+ bundle, which offers an $8 per month saving on taking the services individually, is a strong driver for Disney’s overall streaming growth in the US, particularly for ESPN+,” advises Toby Holleran, Research Manager at Ampere Analysis. “A strong content portfolio from Disney+ & Hulu, making the most of its key Marvel and Star Wars franchises (on Disney+) and FX (on Hulu), as well as the continuation of live sports (on ESPN+) has further driven subscription growth this year. Additionally, the plan to incorporate Disney+ and ESPN+ subscriptions—alongside Hulu’s SVoD service—with a Hulu TV contract from next month will further push the domestic US subscriber base of the three services, reaching around 108 million subscriptions by the end of the year. Reports suggest that NBCUniversal is considering moving content from Hulu to Peacock in 2022, but because of the combination of attractive bundled pricing, alongside a strong slate of original content scheduled for release in 2022 across Disney+ and Hulu, Ampere expects the combined suite to experience growth beyond 2021.”