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Disney Plus continues spectacular growth and promises “new and exciting” content

Disney Plus now has more than 54 million subscribers, Disney revealed on its Q2 earnings call last night.

On March 28, it had 33.5 million subscribers. On April 8, it surpassed the 50 million mark, and over the subsequent few weeks, it has added another 4.5 million to its total.

“As of May 4, we estimate we had approximately 54.5 million Disney Plus subscribers, reflecting a subscriber mix generally similar to our mix at April 8,” Christine McCarthy, Disney’s chief financial officer, said during the company’s Q2 earnings call.

Related: Disney Plus vs Netflix

Disney initially said that it was aiming to attract between 60 million and 90 million Disney Plus subscribers by the end of 2024. To say that the streaming service is growing faster than the company had envisaged would be something of an understatement.

“The response to Disney Plus in particular has exceeded even our highest expectations,” Bob Chapek, the CEO of Disney, said during the call.

He added: “We’ve been quite pleased with the growth that we’ve seen in the four weeks since [April 8], and there’s more to come.”

Last month, Disney Plus even attracted praise from the CEO of Netflix, its main rival in the streaming space.

“I’ve been so impressed with the Disney Plus execution. Over 20 years of watching different businesses, incumbents, like Blockbuster and Walmart and all these companies, I’ve never seen such a good execution of the incumbent learning the new way and mastering it,” said Reed Hastings during Netflix’s Q1 earnings call on April 21.

“And then to have them achieve over 50 million in six months, it’s stunning. So to see both the execution and the numbers line up, my hats off to them.”

Hastings added: And then there’s a bunch more services coming to market. I think it’s great, obviously, for the consumer to be able to have all these options. There’s nothing we can do about any of them … So what we do is just try to figure out how do we have the best service we can … and then we’ll get part of consumers’ viewing. No one’s going to get it all.”

Chapek added that, despite the disruption caused by the spread of coronavirus, Disney is planning to pump money into new content for Disney Plus, which currently offers just 38 originals.

“Hit new programming like The Mandalorian certainly drives that business, so I think we’ll continue to make the planned investments into Disney Plus, as we always have, with new and exciting programming to drive those subscription rates and retention,” he said.

 

The main he replaced as CEO in February, Bob Iger, said: “One key to our resilience is the strength of our brands and the strong emotional connection people have to them: Disney, Pixar, Marvel, ABC, ESPN and Star Wars. In fact, recent studies have shown we’ve maintained that connection with consumers throughout this crisis.”

He added: “While much of our operations have shut down, we’ve been fortunate to keep parts of our creative pipeline active, including a number of writing and development projects, while also continuing post-production work for our studios, our media networks, and Disney Plus.”

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