Since Disney+ launched in November 2019, the streaming service has pulled in millions of subscribers, outdoing all of the companies predictions in terms of subscription growth. Outperforming Disney’s five-year plan within a year.
At the last quarterly investor’s results, as of April 3rd 2021, Disney+ had 103 .6 million subscribers, and the next official update on subscriber numbers will be announced on Friday 13th August, when the next quarterly results are announced.
Since April, Disney has continued its international rollout, with launches in Malaysia and Thailand.
However, according to a report from The Information, Disney+ has surpassed 110 million total subscribers worldwide, with Disney+ only adding 1 million new subscribers in the United States. The majority of these new subscribers are from India, which makes up over a third of the subscribers globally.
Disney responded to the report by stating that the report contains, “factual inaccuracies and does not reflect the performance of the service.”
It’s not only Disney+ that has seen a slow down in subscribers. Netflix has also reported that same. This is because there was a huge surge in new subscriptions during the pandemic, and as things are slowly reopening, people are going out more and watching less television.
Disney+ is still set to launch later this year in many more countries, including in Hong Kong, Japan and in Eastern Europe. Many more countries within the Middle East, Asia and Africa, haven’t yet had Disney+ launches announced. So there is still room for Disney+ to grow its subscriber numbers.
If Disney+ has only added a million subscribers within the US over the last quarter, this shows a significant reduction, leading to many to speculate that Disney+ will need to do more to pull in more new subscribers. While Disney+ has many hit shows like “The Mandalorian” and “Loki”, it’s still very reliant on Marvel and Star Wars shows to pull in new audiences. Last year’s “Hamilton” was a huge success for Disney+, pulling in large numbers of new subscribers, but how many of them unsubscribed once they watched the film.
Internationally, Disney+ saw a huge expansion with the addition of the general entertainment brand Star, which added content from 20th Century Studios, FX, Searchlight Pictures and ABC to Disney+. Making the streaming service far more appealing to adults, with a range of shows and films for adults. The addition of Star has had a major impact on the churn rate of Disney+ subscribers, with far fewer people unsubscribing and also improving engagement as adults binge-watch major shows like “Lost”, “Grey’s Anatomy” and “Family Guy”. Plus, there are many more original shows each week, keeping subscribers happier with new content.
In the United States, this hasn’t happened due to the existence of Hulu, and many people believe Disney+ can never fully compete with other services like Netflix, Amazon Prime or HBO Max, without incorporating more general entertainment content. While Disney touts the success of the Disney Streaming Bundle, with Hulu and ESPN+, it still requires people to be subscribed to multiple services to get the complete package. Compared to the other streaming services on the market, Disney+ lacks that general entertainment content for adults and teenagers to enjoy, which isn’t Marvel or Star Wars related.
Over the past few months, many more new shows and movies have been added to Disney+, and the addition of Disney+ Premier Access, also encourages more growth, with major new titles becoming available at an additional cost.
Another major issue for Disney+ is that it seems to have slowed down on the amount of classic library content it adds every month, often adding just a few older titles, leaving hundreds of classic films and shows still in the “Disney Vault”. While library content might not pull in as many new subscribers as brand new Originals, it does keep existing subscribers engaged, especially as nostalgia has a big part in the appeal of Disney+.
Disney will be revealing its official subscriber numbers next month, and analysts will be watching to see if Disney+ has been able to continue its momentum in growing.
While Comcast still owns a 33% stake in Hulu, Disney+ in the United States is always going to be inferior to Disney+ internationally without Star. Could Star content add more subscribers within the US? Would more new originals help grow subscribers?
Do you think Disney+ needs to do more to get more subscribers?