The Disney+ streaming service hasn’t yet celebrated its first birthday but it has already shown exceptional growth.
The service, which launched in mid-November of last year, had hit the sixty million subscriber mark as of the end of the second quarter of this year, per the company’s earnings announcement in August. Disney now has more than one hundred million streaming subscribers, across the services—Disney+, ESPN+ and Hulu—that it controls.
As CNBC reported at the time, this was well ahead of schedule for the company, which had listed a goal of hitting “between 60 and 90 million by 2024.”
So how many subscribers will Disney+ have by 2024?
Analyst Michael Nathanson of MoffettNathanson wrote in a note this week, as cited by Fierce Video, that the service will hit 155 million subscribers worldwide, including 50 million domestic, by 2024. And that year, the service will also be profitable.
“While it is still too early to know how the profitability forecast will play out depending on how much Disney will seek to re-invest the higher revenue run rate into programming, we can see the dramatic upside at Disney+ relative to the company’s initial guidance and our estimates after the investor day,” Nathanson wrote in the note.
Disney+ was launched last year as the culmination of a longtime business strategy by Disney to collect a massive amount of intellectual property, and to assemble it all together on a streaming service. Disney+ includes not only Disney’s own extensive catalog of animated and other classic films, but also the Star Wars, Marvel Cinematic Universe, and Pixar canons. The service also features numerous documentaries about Disney’s own history, theme parks, and other properties.
The biggest hit on Disney+ in its first year has been The Mandalorian, a series based in the Star Wars universe that debuted at the service’s launch and will return for its second season later this month. The service also appears to have had some success with Hamilton, the filmed version of the popular musical that had its planned theatrical release moved up fifteen months and placed on Disney+ in July.
Disney also released Mulan, another film that had been set for theatrical release, in a unique premium video on demand arrangement in which Disney+ subscribers had to pay an additional $30 in order to view the film.
No official figures have been released, and there are differing reports about how effective that gambit was. However, Disney’s decision to move the theatrical release of the Marvel film Black Widow to 2021, rather than put it on premium VOD like Mulan, is seen by many observers as an indication that the Mulan release wasn’t a huge success.
Stephen Silver, a technology writer for The National Interest, is a journalist, essayist and film critic, who is also a contributor to Philly Voice, Philadelphia Weekly, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Living Life Fearless, Backstage magazine, Broad Street Review and Splice Today. The co-founder of the Philadelphia Film Critics Circle, Stephen lives in suburban Philadelphia with his wife and two sons. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenSilver.