Disney+ continues to be the hottest streaming service on the market. During a recent quarterly earnings call, Disney revealed that the streaming service has amassed 60.5 million paid subscribers worldwide. That is up from the 54.5 million that was reported back in May, which represents impressive growth. It also means that Disney has hit its five-year subscriber goal in nine months, blowing by industry estimates and expectations. Not only that, but the company also has plans to launch yet another streaming service internationally sometime in 2021.
Across all of the company’s streaming services, which also includes Hulu and ESPN+, Disney says they now have more than 100 million paid subscribers worldwide. Netflix, meanwhile, remains the king of the hill with nearly 200 million, but Disney is quickly catching up. CEO Bob Chapek had this to say in a statement.
“Despite the ongoing challenges of the pandemic, we’ve continued to build on the incredible success of Disney+ as we grow our global direct-to-consumer businesses. The global reach of our full portfolio of direct-to-consumer services now exceeds an astounding 100 million paid subscriptions, a significant milestone and a reaffirmation of our DTC strategy, which we view as key to the future growth of our company.”
Bob Chapek also announced that Disney has plans to launch a new streaming service in 2021 geared toward “general entertainment.” The service will be launched under the Star brand internationally, which the company acquired as part of its massive $71.3 billion deal with Fox that went into effect last year. The service will reportedly feature content from ABC Studios, Fox Television, FX, Freeform, 20th Century Studios and Searchlight. The focus won’t be on original content. What’s more, this unnamed service will be integrated into Disney+ in many markets. Pricing for the service has not yet been revealed. Chapek had this to say about it.
“In terms of the general entertainment offering internationally, we want to mirror our successful Disney+ strategy by using our Disney Plus technical platform, bringing in content we already own and distributing it under a successful international brand that we also already own, which is, of course, Star.”
Streaming proved to be one of few bright spots for Disney this quarter. The company lost a massive $4.84 billion. With its theme parks such as Disneyland and Disney World closed for months earlier in the year, they were bleeding cash. The lack of income from theatrical releases has not helped matters any.
What is inescapably clear is that streaming is indeed the future. That was apparent before 2020 but the theater closure, which resulted from the global crisis, has truly made that inescapable. Case in point, Disney+ will debut Mulan, which was eyed as one of the studio’s major theatrical releases for the year. The movie will go for $29.99 in the U.S. Though it will still debut in theaters in certain markets around the world, where it is feasible to do so. Other studios, such as Universal, have experimented with premium VOD offerings in recent months to generate revenue.
Disney+ is home to lots of attractive content, including the Star Wars franchise and the Marvel Cinematic Universe. As far as originals go, The Mandalorian proved to be a tremendously huge hit, with season 2 of the series set to debut in October. The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, a new live-action Marvel series, had originally been slated to debut this month. However, production delays have forced Disney to postpone its premiere. This news was previously reported by CNBC.