Before Disney+ launched in 2019, during an Investor’s Day event, Disney’s CFO, Christine McCarthy, revealed that they were targeting to hit between 60 and 90 million subscribers globally by 2024.  But following a hugely successful launch and the number of subscriptions exploding during the pandemic, Disney easily passed by its initial target. During the Investor Day event in 2020, Disney extended its target to reach between 230 million and 260 million subscribers by 2024.


However, subscriber growth started to slow down as people returned to normality after the pandemic, and Wall Street shifted its focus from getting subscribers to profitability.  Then Disney CEO Bob Chapek announced that they had revived their subscriber goal by 15 million, between 215 million and 245 million.

But with Bob Iger returning to lead the company,  he followed Netflix’s lead and quickly stated that Disney would no longer provide subscriber forecasts in the future.  One major reason for this was that by losing the rights to the Indian Premiere League cricket rights, they would lose over 20 million subscribers in India alone.  Losing those subscribers was considered by many to be a huge loss, because a Disney+ Hotstar subscriber in India only brings in about a sixth of the average income of a “core” Disney+ subscriber, and Disney was saving billions of dollars in not acquiring the IPL cricket rights.

With a general slowdown in new subscribers, Bloomberg is reporting that Disney is expecting to fall tens of million subscribers short of its previously publicly stated 2024 target.

Wall Street is more focused on Disney+ becoming profitable than gaining subscribers, which is why Disney has been making huge changes to the amount of content it produces, removing unpopular content to save money, raising subscription prices and introducing an ad-supported tier.

Only this month, Disney launched a new promotion to get new subscribers to the service at a discounted rate, and just this past week, it signed a deal with Charter Communications to provide Disney+ to all Spectrum Cable subscribers, at a reduced wholesale price.  And more cable networks are expected to make similar deals to start, including Disney+ with ads.  Disney is also expected to merge Hulu in with Disney+ in the United States once it completes its deal with Comcast, which is expected to help increase ad-revenue, reduce costs and also reduce the churn of subscribers leaving the platform.

During the last quarterly results in August, Disney revealed that Disney+ had 146.1 million subscribers, down from 164.2 million subscribers in the second quarter of 2022, before it lost the IPL Cricket rights in India.

Disney is likely trying to set expectations of shareholders and Wall Street, ahead of its upcoming end-of-financial year and to set the tone for next year, so it is less of a surprise when it fails to reach that number.  A much more important target for Disney+, is to become profitable by the end of 2024.

How many Disney+ subscribers do you think Disney+ will hit in 2024?  Let us know on social media!

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Roger Palmer

Roger has been a Disney fan since he was a kid and this interest has grown over the years. He has visited Disney Parks around the globe and has a vast collection of Disney movies and collectibles. He is the owner of What's On Disney Plus & DisKingdom. Email: Twitter: Facebook:

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