Disney+ Turns 1: What Worked and What Didn’t for Netflix’s Biggest Rival

Subscriptions are far outpacing expectations, covering for early slip-ups

Disney+ celebrates its first birthday later this week, capping a launch that has gone better than even Bob Iger could have dreamed of in his most optimistic moments.

While the COVID-19 pandemic has battered Disney all year by shutting down its theme parks and keeping movie theaters closed, Disney+ has been a lone bright spot. The streaming service has already established itself as a formidable challenger to Netflix’s throne. At the same time, the pandemic has supercharged the industry-wide shift toward streaming. The U.S. now has around seven top-tier streaming services, with ViacomCBS’ upcoming rebrand of CBS All Access into Paramount+ set for early next year.

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Tim Baysinger

TV reporter • tim.baysinger@thewrap.com • Twitter: @tim_bays