Report: Disney Surpasses 100M Streaming Subs in the U.S.

(Image credit: Disney+)

LONDON—Disney surpassed a notable milestone this quarter, topping 100 million streaming subs for the first time, according to a new report from Ampere Analysis, with an aggressively priced bundle and a wide range of attractive programming driving the growth. 

Toby Holleran, research manager at Ampere Analysis explained the growth by noting that “the Disney+, Hulu and ESPN+ bundle, which offers an $8 per month saving on taking the services individually, is a strong driver for Disney’s overall streaming growth in the US, particularly for ESPN+. A strong content portfolio from Disney+ & Hulu, making the most of its key Marvel and Star Wars franchises (on Disney+) and FX (on Hulu), as well as the continuation of live sports (on ESPN+) has further driven subscription growth this year.”

Holleran also explained that “the plan to incorporate Disney+ and ESPN+ subscriptions—alongside Hulu’s SVoD service—with a Hulu TV contract from next month will further push the domestic US subscriber base of the three services, reaching around 108m subscriptions by the end of the year. Reports suggest that NBCUniversal is considering moving content from Hulu to Peacock in 2022, but because of the combination of attractive bundled pricing, alongside a strong slate of original content scheduled for release in 2022 across Disney+ and Hulu, Ampere expects the combined suite to experience growth beyond 2021."

Disney surpassed the 50 million US subscriptions milestone in Q4 2019 following the launch of Disney+ and two years later hit the 100m milestone, Ampere said. 

Ampere is projecting that both Hulu and Disney+ are on track to finish the year in excess of 40 million subscriptions. ESPN+ is expected to finish 2021 with more than 20 million subscriptions, nearly six times more than at the end of Q3 2019, before the launch of Disney+. 

Ampere estimated that the domestic US client base of the three services will reach around 108 million subscriptions by the end of the year, up from around 99m at the end of Q3 2021. 

The projections come at a time when Disney filings with the SEC indicate that it will spend an eye watering $33 billion on programming in 2022, a big jump from the 2021 programming spend of about $25 billion (opens in new tab).

In contrast Netflix spends about $17 billion a year on programming. 

George Winslow

George Winslow is the senior content producer for TV Tech. He has written about the television, media and technology industries for nearly 30 years for such publications as Broadcasting & Cable, Multichannel News and TV Tech. Over the years, he has edited a number of magazines, including Multichannel News International and World Screen, and moderated panels at such major industry events as NAB and MIP TV. He has published two books and dozens of encyclopedia articles on such subjects as the media, New York City history and economics.