Disney is five years ahead of schedule. Tuesday afternoon, the company announced it is already nearing the 60 million subscriber base it previously forecast as its 5-year goal. At the time, the House of Mouse anticipated being somewhere between 60 million and 90 million subscribers by 2024. Disney CEO Bob Chapek said during the company's Q2 investor's call Tuesday the streaming platform has crossed 60.5 subscribers since it launched last November.
“Despite the ongoing challenges of the pandemic, we’ve continued to build on the incredible success of Disney+ as we grow our global direct-to-consumer businesses,” Chapek subsequently added in a follow-up press release. “The global reach of our full portfolio of direct-to-consumer services now exceeds an astounding 100 million paid subscriptions -- a significant milestone and a reaffirmation of our DTC strategy, which we view as key to the future growth of our company.”
In comparison, Hulu has around 35.5 million subscribers while ESPN+ — both Disney-owned services — now boasts 8.5 million subscribers, more than three times its base than this time last year.
During the same call, Chapek also revealed the company is releasing Mulan as a premium offering on Disney+ on September 4th due to ongoing coronavirus-related shutdowns. Though the film will still get a limited theatrical release wherever theaters are open, it's a seismic shift for a movie many considered a tentpole offering for the summer blockbuster season.
Earlier this summer, Disney made a similar move with The One and Only Ivan and Magic Camp — instead of strict theatrical releases, both of those features will be added to Disney+ the same day they're made available in whatever theaters are open at the time.
In the case of Mulan, the service is introducing a new "Premium" feature for the service that allows subscribers to rent to film. The rental price for the feature will be $29.99 though a Disney+ subscription is required for the rental. As of now, it's unclear if it will be a time rental like other VOD offerings or if you'll permanently have it added to your Disney+ account.
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Cover photo by Hakan Nural/Anadolu Agency via Getty Images