Streaming service hits milestone within five months of launch
Disney+ said it surpassed 50 million paid subscribers on Wednesday, reaching the milestone within its first five months.
The streaming service launched in November to great fanfare with originals like “The Mandalorian” and “High School Musical: The Musical: The Series.” The company topped 28 million paid subs in February, many of those coming domestically.
Disney had previously projected to reach 60-90 million global subscribers by 2024.
The streaming service is now available in more than a dozen countries. It launched in European territories U.K., Ireland, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Austria, and Switzerland over the last two weeks, and went live in India last week where it’s offered in conjunction with the pre-existing Hotstar streaming service (which Disney acquired in its Fox deal). India already accounts for 8 million of Disney+’s subscribers.
Disney+ will roll out to Western Europe, as well as across Latin America and Japan later this year.
“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+.”
The company said more than 10 million people signed up on its first day through its free 7-day free trial. Verizon is also giving away one year of Disney+ to all new and existing unlimited wireless customers, new Fios Home Internet and new 5G Home Internet customers. It is not known how many of Disney+’s subscribers come via the Verizon deal, but Disney had previously said it accounted for 20% of its sub count.
The month of March also saw the U.S. and many European territories go under lockdown and enact “shelter-in-place” orders amid the spread of the coronavirus pandemic.
Disney executive chairman Bob Iger had predicted that the majority of Disney+’s sub growth over the next few months would come from its international rollout; he didn’t think there would be a big spike in U.S. subs until the debut of the first Marvel Studios-produced series “The Falcon and the Winter Soldier” in August. That date is up in the air, however, as the coronavirus pandemic has shuttered almost all Hollywood productions. The delay of “Black Widow” and subsequent pushback off nearly all Phase 4 MCU films’ release date could also mean that the Disney+ series could get delayed as well due to the carefully-plotted interconnected narrative between the shows and the films.
Last week, Disney also pulled “Artemis Fowl” from its summer release date and will release the movie exclusively on Disney+.