During its earnings report for the December quarter, The Walt Disney Company announced that its streaming platform surpassed 94.9 million subscribers. Disney+, which already exceeded the company’s initial subscriber goal of 60-90 million by 2024, now is expected to have 230-260 million subscribers by 2024.
Furthermore, as that 94.9 million benchmark was registered on January 2, the platform may have received a significant boost in subscribers thanks to the debut of its first Marvel Studios TV series, “WandaVision,” which was released on January 15 and is enjoying great success right now. Assuming the highly anticipated show has caused a similar bump in subscribers, it is possible that Disney has already managed to cross the 100 million subscriber mark by now.
In fact, according to Parrot Analytics’ latest data, “WandaVision” has become the world’s most in-demand TV show, across all platforms. Following a relatively soft first week, where it rattled between #7 and number #35 worldwide, the show had been the second or third most in-demand series since January 22, when episode three was released. On February 5, the same day episode five was released featuring a widely discussed shocking ending, the Marvel series finally catapulted to the number one series worldwide, and has remained there ever since.
The Walt Disney Company’s landmark SVOD service has seen rapid growth in subscribers since its launch in November 2019. On day one, the company had 10 million sign-ups and, by the end of the first quarter, the service had secured 26.5 million subscribers. As the pandemic raged on, keeping consumers indoors, Disney+ jumped from 33.5 million subscribers in its second quarter to 57.5 million in its third. In the fourth quarter, the company surpassed 73.7 million subscribers. On the other hand, Hulu’s subscriber count hit 39.4 million, with 4 million of those subscribing to its Live TV offering. That’s up 30% from the quarter ending in on December 28, 2019. ESPN+ subscribers are at 12.1 million, up 83% of 6.6 million in December 2019.
Regarding financial results, the company reported revenue of $16.2 billion during the first quarter, down 22% from the $20.9 billion reported during the same period last year. However, it exceeded analysts’ forecasts, as they expected Disney's revenue to come in at $15.9 billion. The company also posted earnings per share of 32 cents, when analysts were expecting a loss per share of 41 cents.
“We believe the strategic actions we’re taking to transform our company will fuel our growth and enhance shareholder value, as demonstrated by the incredible strides we’ve made in our DTC business, reaching more than 146 million total paid subscriptions across our streaming services at the end of the quarter. We’re confident that, with our robust pipeline of exceptional, high-quality content and the upcoming launch of our new Star branded international general entertainment offering, we are well-positioned to achieve even greater success going forward,” said Bob Chapek, Chief Executive Officer of The Walt Disney Company.