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Credit: Disney+

Disney CEO Bob Chapek told media and investors on Thursday that its streaming service Disney+ now has 86.8 million subscribers.

Why it matters: The company's streaming success has helped to offset major losses in Disney's studios, parks and resorts divisions.

What they're saying: Speaking at the company's annual investor day, Chapek said the company couldn't have ever imagined achieving such success so quickly.

  • He also acknowledged the challenges the pandemic presented the company this year. "Let me just say how proud I am to be leadings this extraordinary company during this pivotal time," he said.

The big picture: Most of the company's presentation focused on streaming, which is where the company sees its future.

  • Kareem Daniel, Disney's media and entertainment distribution division chairman, revealed details about the company's programming for Disney+, including 10 new Marvel and Star Wars series, 15 Disney live action, animation and Pixar series, and 15 new Disney live action, animation, and Pixar features to be released on Disney+.
  • Daniel also noted that Disney would release its upcoming movie "Raya and the Last Dragon" through Disney+ at same time it debuts in theaters in March 2021.

By the numbers: The company said it now has 86.8 million Disney + subscribers. Of those 86.8 million Disney+ subscribers, 30% are subscribers to Hotstar, India's largest streaming platform which is owned by Disney. The media giant also has:

  • 38.8 million Hulu subscribers.
  • 11.5 million ESPN subscribers.

Hulu President Kelly Campbell says Hulu+ Live TV has now has surpassed 4 million subscribers, making it the 5th largest U.S. pay-TV provider. She added that the company now makes $10 per subscriber in ad revenue per month.

  • Hulu also teased a new show with the Kardashians come 2021. It said it would renew its hit show "Handmaid's Tale" for a 5th season.

Internationally, Disney also announced it plans to launch two new general entertainment content brands — Star and Star+ outside the U.S.

  • Star+ will be focused on Latin America and will concentrate on sports content.
  • Going forward Hulu will launch exclusive original films from 20th Century Studios and Searchlight Studios.
  • ESPN+ will become directly available in the Hulu interface.

When it comes to sports, Disney's chair of ESPN and Sports Content Jimmy Pitaro said the network has reached an agreement with the SEC (Southeastern conference) to expand its partnerships beginning with the 2024 season.

  • As part of the deal, Disney's broadcast network ABC will become the new home of the SEC's afternoon football coverage, as well as select Saturday prime-time games and the annual SEC football championship game starting in 2024.
  • He added that select SEC games will be available on ESPN+ beginning next year.

Go deeper

Jan 12, 2021 - Economy & Business

Exclusive: OZY hits profitability on $50 million in revenue

Photo of Ozy CEO and co-founder Carlos Watson

OZY brought in $50 million in revenue last year, helping it hit profitability for the first time in its 7-year history.

Why it matters: The company has received acquisition offers from at least two major media companies, its founder and CEO Carlos Watson tells Axios.

Updated 1 hour ago - Economy & Business

Tax season nightmare ahead for understaffed IRS

Illustration: Shoshana Gordon/Axios

The IRS will start accepting 2021 tax returns in less than a week, and the filing delays and administrative headaches to come might eclipse last year — which was “one of the worst filing seasons," according to an independent advocacy agency within the IRS.

Why it matters: For taxpayers, especially with complex or paper filings, this means headaches, delayed refunds, and mistakes.

China builds its own movie empire

Expand chart
Data: Gower Street citing Comscore; Chart: Kavya Beheraj/Axios

China blocked all four of Disney's Marvel movies from being released in its theaters last year, a grim sign for U.S. film giants being squeezed out of the world's fastest-growing box office.

Why it matters: The Chinese Communist Party is using domestic films as a key conduit for mass messaging aimed at achieving political goals, leaving little room for foreign views.