Disney+ Jumps to 95M Subscribers

(Image credit: Disney)

BURBANK, Calif.—Disney+ ended 2020 on a high note, as the Walt Disney Company reports that the streaming service had just shy of 95 million paid subscribers as of Jan. 2. Disney’s strategy shift to focus more on its direct-to-consumer platforms is showing positive signs, as both ESPN+ and Hulu had healthy growths as well.

This new data comes from Walt Disney Company’s first quarter 2021 financial report.

The last figures Disney shared for the Disney+ streaming service was that subscription had reached 86.8 million subscribers as of Dec. 2, 2020. In the month span separating these two reports, Disney+ premiered the final three episodes of season two of “The Mandalorian” and the Pixar film “Soul” premiered on the service on Christmas Day. 

At the end of Q1 2020, Disney+ had a reported subscriber base of 26.5 million. Still just a little more than a year old, Disney+ has firmly established itself as one of the top streaming platforms, alongside Netflix and Amazon Prime Video.

Disney’s other streaming properties also had solid growth compared to their previous years. ESPN+ nearly doubled its subscription base, from 6.6 million to 12.1 million. Hulu saw a 30% growth from 30.4 million to 39.4 million combined for its SVOD only and live TV + SVOD plans.

In total, Disney’s DTC brands have more than 146 million paid subscribers, which generated $3.5 billion in Q1 2021 revenue.

“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,” said Bob Chapek, CEO, The Walt Disney Company. “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.”

Disney’s financial report also covered the traditional TV side of its business, which saw minimal growth year-over-year. Across all of its linear networks, Disney reported $7.693 billion in revenue for Q1 2021, just 2% more than Q1 2020. Domestically the growth was smaller, with Disney’s domestic channels increasing only 1% to $6.1 billion; international channels saw a 5% growth year-over-year.

There was a decrease in operating income, which Disney says was a result of lower results at its cable business, but which was offset by an increase in its broadcasting business.

Disney’s full Q1 2021 financial report is available online