Just five months after launching in the United States, The Walt Disney Company has announced they've crossed a major threshold for the Disney+ streaming service by surpassing the 50 million paid subscribers milestone. Kevin Mayer, Chairman of Walt Disney Direct-to-Consumer & International, confirmed the news in a statement saying: "We're truly humbled that Disney+ is resonating with millions around the globe, and believe this bodes well for our continued expansion throughout Western Europe and into Japan and all of Latin America later this year. Great storytelling inspires and uplifts, and we are in the fortunate position of being able to deliver a vast array of great entertainment rooted in joy and optimism on Disney+."
Though a number of different specials were being offered at the time of Disney+'s debut to give it a nice cushion, these numbers reflect paid subscribers around the world. Despite launching with less than 15% of the content that Netflix offers, Disney+ now has almost 1/3 the amount of subscribers as its biggest competition. Earlier this year Netflix confirmed that they have 167 million subscribers worldwide, a number that might be even higher when the streaming service holds their own quarterly earnings in a few weeks.
Disney+'s subscribers have no doubt grown in the past few weeks as they've officially launched in major markets across Europe including the UK, Ireland, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Austria, and Switzerland. The service also launched in India just last week, which already accounts for eight million of the 50 million worldwide subscribers.
Another major boon to the success of Disney+ in recent weeks is the influx of new content to the service that previously would have arrived much later but due to the COVID-19 coronavirus Disney has opted to release early. Frozen 2 was put online on Disney+ on March 17th after previously being set for a June 26th debut. In addition Pixar's Onward, previously still playing in theaters, was added to Disney+ just one month after it debuted on the big screen. Due to theater closures around the world the timeline of that film arriving on streaming was moved but by many months.
Now, content The Walt Disney Company had previously pegged to be released in traditional movie theaters first will now make it sway to the streaming service. It was recently revealed the high-budget adaptation of Artemis Fowl will head straight to the Disney+ streaming service rather than be released in theaters with executive chairman Bob Iger later saying that other films could be sent directly to Disney+ in a recent interview with Barron's.
"There are some we've decided to put on Disney+. We already announced one, Artemis Fowl, that would have been released in theaters. Others we've simply delayed...In terms of movies going ahead after Artemis, there may be a few more that we end up putting directly onto Disney+, but for the most part a lot of the big tentpole Disney films, we'll simply wait for slots. In some cases we've announced new ones already, but later on in the calendar."
Have you signed up for Disney+ since it launched? Is there a specific movie you're waiting to see arrive on the streaming service before you pull the trigger? Sound off in the comments below about what you want to stream.