Disney+ has 86.8 million subscribers one year after launch

Disney+, the company’s subscription streaming service that launched about one year ago, now has 86.8 million subscribers.

The new subscriber count is up from the 73.7 million paid subscribers Disney reported in November. The service is now extremely close to eclipsing the high end of its 2024 subscriber forecast.

In 2019, Disney revealed its new streaming service and estimated it would have between 60 million to 90 million subscribers within five years. Disney also predicted that Disney+ would be profitable by 2024.

Now, Disney+ is starting to look like it’s on a trajectory closer to what some industry analysts have predicted. In October, analyst Michael Nathanson said he expects Disney+ to have 155 million worldwide subscribers – including more than 50 million domestic subscribers – by 2024.

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“While it is still too early to know how the profitability forecast will play out depending on how much Disney will seek to re-invest the higher revenue run rate into programming, we can see the dramatic upside at Disney+ relative to the company’s initial guidance and our estimates after the investor day,” wrote Nathanson in a research note.

Disney also said it now has 38.8 million Hulu subscribers and 11.5 million ESPN+ subscribers. The company plans to update the guidance for its direct-to-consumer business.

Disney also revealed that both Disney+ and ESPN+ will launch on Comcast platforms in early 2021 – joining Hulu, which launched on Comcast earlier this year.

During the previous quarter, Disney said revenues for its direct-to-consumer and international segment rose 41% to $4.9 billion and segment operating loss decreased from $751 million to $580 million. Disney has been selling Disney+, ESPN+ and Hulu together in a service bundle since November 2019 and while it’s likely contributed to faster subscriber growth for each service, it’s had an adverse effect on average revenue per user. ARPU at ESPN+ decreased from $5.15 to $4.54 and it also decreased from $12.67 to $12.59 at Hulu SVOD only, both of which the company partly attributed to the bundle.