Feb 16, 2021 - Economy

Disney+ races to catch Netflix after subscriber numbers surge in first year

Data: Company filings; Chart: Michelle McGhee/Axios
Data: Company filings; Chart: Michelle McGhee/Axios

In a little over a year, Disney+ has accrued nearly half of the number of subscribers Netflix has accumulated over the past decade.

Why it matters: Disney is the first traditional media company to nail streaming.

  • The other giants (AT&T, ViacomCBS, Comcast/NBCU, Discovery) are scrambling to become the third service to compliment Disney+ and Netflix.
  • The average U.S. consumer is willing to pay around $42 monthly for streaming services, per Magid. That's about 3 services monthly.
  • Peacock doesn't break out its number of paid subscribers, but says it has 33 million sign-ups. Reporting from The Information suggests that the company could be looking to merge with another firm, perhaps WarnerMedia.

Yes, but: Disney still makes far less money per subscriber than Netflix because prices are so low. Average revenue per streaming subscriber fell significantly last quarter, because Disney is now including subscribers to its Indian subscription streaming service, Hotstar, in its calculus.

  • What's next: Disney announced a slew of new European content projects today, furthering its commitment to building new content that could expand its subscriber base globally.

What to watch: ViacomCBS's rebranded streaming service Paramount+ is set to launch March 4th. Bloomberg's Lucas Shaw has a good overview about challenges to the service here.

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