It is fairly safe to assume that Disney Plus has a current paid subscriber count at well over 100 million. Official figures released by the company yesterday reveal that 94.9 million people had signed up to the streaming service as of 2 January this year, an increase of eight million in just a month.
At that rate, we can use some crude maths to predict that the service currently has somewhere in the region of 106 million paid up subscribers at the time of writing; a full 16 million more than the company had initially forecasted to reach within its first four years.
As recently as November, when the service reached 73.7 million subscribers to round off a remarkable first year of growth, conversation was already turning to the sustainability of the present trajectory and what Disney had to do next not just to maintain growth levels, but to retain those who’ve already made the commitment to add yet another SVoD subscription to their growing fleet of services.
Back in October, CEO Bob Chapek alluded to the company pivoting “pretty dramatically [towards streaming]” in announcing a company restructure, and in December the company committed to the production of 105 movies and TV series, the majority of which will be slated for direct-to-consumer release via its Star Wars, Marvel, Pixar, and Disney Animation brands. During the same annual investor day in December, Chapek revised the company’s forecasts for paid subscribers by the end of its fiscal year 2024 to between 230-260 million.
Proof of the company’s commitment to, and investment in, original series and content is already on display, with the premiere of Pixar’s Soul back in December and the release of the new Marvel series, WandaVision in January. With the new general entertainment ‘brand’ Star scheduled for release on 23 February, we can expect subscriber levels to at least maintain their current levels through the coming months, although we won’t necessarily be hearing about it as often henceforth, with the company now only releasing subscriber numbers at the end of quarter.
We will, of course, continue to watch the streamer’s fortunes (and its content) with interest.