As of October 4 (the close of fiscal year Q4) The Walt Disney Company had surpassed 73.7 million paid subscribers for the Disney+ streaming service. This marked an increase of 13.2 million from their last update on subscriber numbers in August and proved that the company's new focus on SVOD as their primary business model was a smart one. It's worth noting that this October 4 cut-off happened almost four weeks before the season two premiere of The Mandalorian, the clear flagship series for Disney+ that has long been the main reason for many to subscribe since it launched a year ago today.
“Even with the disruption caused by COVID-19, we’ve been able to effectively manage our businesses while also taking bold, deliberate steps to position our company for greater long-term growth,” Disney CEO Bob Chapek said in a statement. “The real bright spot has been our direct-to-consumer business, which is key to the future of our company, and on this anniversary of the launch of Disney+ we’re pleased to report that, as of the end of the fourth quarter, the service had more than 73 million paid subscribers – far surpassing our expectations in just its first year.”
Other subscriber numbers updated by The Walt Disney Company for the quarter included Hulu, which has over 36.6 million paying subscribers, and ESPN+, which has grown to over 10.3 million subscribers. Further numbers about Disney's streaming platforms won't be revealed until the company's "Investor Day" which will dive even deeper into the success of their streaming services, this is set to take place on Thursday, December 10.
The Disney+ streaming service had many of its programming plans completely derailed by the COVID-19 pandemic. Shows like The Falcon and the Winter Soldier and WandaVision were delayed by months, with the later now set to premiere in January of 2021. Original shows aren't the only things being populated on the service though as the live-action Mulan movie was pushed onto Disney+ at a premium cost, an experiment that won't carry over to the release of the new Pixar movie Soul (which will premiere on the service free of charge on Christmas Day). If you haven't signed up for Disney+ yet, you can try it out here.
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