Disney+ has 73 million subscribers after only one year, exceeding the already high expectations set by the promise of housing Disney’s IP empire.
In its first year active, Disney+ has amassed over 73 million subscribers, easily marking the most explosive opening year for a streaming service in the short history of their existence. Its first day, exactly one year ago, raked in 10 million alone, and the service has seen spikes revolving around new developments during the COVID-19 pandemic, most notably the uptick in users when Mulan released exclusively on the streamer for a $30 charge.
Disney+ came onto the scene last year with the immediate goal to challenge the likes of Netflix by housing Disney’s massive library of accumulated IP, and by extension taking it all off of competitors (with the exception of Hulu, which is owned by Disney). Though The Mandalorian was touted as the original series to sell the service, Disney+ mostly otherwise served as a dumping ground for low-budget projects and, of course, the only place to watch all of Disney’s IP. That changed, however, when the theaters closed, and Disney made the decision to drop Mulan on their streamer. The move worked so well that Disney is actively shifting their focus to streaming, though they maintain they had planned to do so anyway. Whatever the case, Disney+ has been undeniably aided by the circumstances of the pandemic, and their subscription numbers suggest a seismic shift on the horizon for the world of television.
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On Disney’s Q4 2020 earnings call, CEO Bob Chapek highlighted the service’s 73 million active users. Those numbers “exceeded our highest expectations,” he said, which certainly won’t offset the overall corporate cash burn that is 2020 but might at least put a band-aid on it.
For some context, Disney’s most intimidating competitor, Netflix, currently has just under 200 million active users. That’s at the height of their power, after years of dominating the streaming game with premiere television. After about 6 months, HBO Max (which houses all of Warner and DC’s IP as well as Studio Ghibli and TCM) only has 8.5 million users, and the now-dead black sheep of new-age streamers, Quibi, never even hit 1 million.
Despite the general mocking of Disney’s insistence on live-action remakes, people continue to watch them. That’s the thing about Disney: no matter what people say, they’re still going to watch. The House of Mouse has made it clear they have no aversion to more “premiere access” releases, suggesting they may just be making their move on distribution as a whole. Chapek has stated that Disney won’t be doing away completely with theatrical releases (assuming the industry doesn’t die on its own soon), but it’s hard to imagine a power play to restructure access to entertainment would go poorly for them. Disney has proven to be fairly controversy-proof, and Disney+ is already the second-most popular streaming service in the world. After one year. And don’t forget, they also own Hulu.
Next: Star Wars’ Abandoned Spinoffs Would Be Perfect Disney+ Shows
Source: Bob Chapek
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