Disney+ Nears 5-Year Streaming Goal In First Eight Months, With 57.5M Subscribers

Disney+ Nears 5-Year Streaming Goal In First Eight Months, With 57.5M Subscribers

Disney reported 57.5 million subscribers to Disney+, the direct-to-consumer streaming service that launched last November.

After rising from 54.5 million subscribers as of the beginning of May, Disney+ is on the verge of the 60 million to 90 million range it told investors it would get to by 2024.

Hulu, the company said, now has 35.5 million subscribers to its on-demand service and live TV bundle combined, while ESPN+ is now at 8.5 million, more than triple its level a year ago.

The streaming numbers were a bright spot during an otherwise gloomy quarter reflecting the full impact of COVID-19. The pandemic has shuttered movie theaters, quieted tourism and blown the whistle on live sports — all areas of specialty for Disney.

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The overall results came up short of Wall Street analysts’ expectations of a loss of 64 cents per share and total revenue of $12.4 billion.

Disney has already reached its five-year target for Disney+ global subscribers less than nine months after launching the $7-a-month service. While it is a far more targeted offering than Amazon Prime Video or Hulu, it has quickly vaulted into the No. 2 spot in the subscription streaming game after Netflix, which has nearly 193 million global subscribers.

Hamilton was a major draw for new subscribers toward the end of the quarter, though its July premiere came just after the end of the quarter. The film compiled from multiple performances of the original Broadway production of Lin-Manuel Miranda’s musical, was initially ticketed for a fall 2021 release in movie theaters. Once COVID-19 and racial protests altered the 2020 landscape, executive chairman Bob Iger led negotiations to shift it to Disney+. The company halted all promotional offers, forcing anyone signing up in June to pay full freight.

When the company reported its last batch of quarterly results in May, Disney said it had 54.5 million Disney+ subscribers, up from 33.5 million as of March 28. Hulu, which Disney has controlled since the spring of 2019, had 32.1 million total subscribers at the end of the March quarter.

The rollout of Disney+ in France was delayed two weeks due to COVID-19, with the territory lighting up April 7, two weeks after other European territories and the UK.