In less than three months of its launch, Disney Plus streaming service has reached close to 29 million paid subscribers. Despite this growth, apparently, investments into Disney Plus streaming service has led to a 23% profit decline for Disney in the latest quarter. Launched in November last year, the Netflix rival managed to rack up close to 26.5 million subscribers as of December 28, the end of its fiscal first quarter.
Disney Plus wants to reach 60 million to 90 million subscribers worldwide by 2024. Disney also had 30.4 million Hulu customers and 6.6 million ESPN Plus subscribers as of December 28. Disney Plus is currently available in the U.S., Canada, The Netherlands, Australia, and New Zealand.
Disney plans to launch Disney Plus in Western Europe, India and Latin America over the next two years. Disney Plus is set to launch in India on March 29. Meanwhile, Hotstar, The Walt Disney Company’s OTT division operating under Star India, will be branded as Disney+ Hotstar. What’s more, it also plans to roll out Hulu outside the U.S. in 2021.
Disney has been turning to heavy promotions to boost Disney Plus in the early months. Disney, for example, struck a deal with Verizon to give some customers a free year. Disney said about 20% of its subscribers came through Verizon. About half signed up directly through Disney and the rest from other channels.
Original series on Disney Plus include the “Star Wars” series “The Mandalorian.” One of the hit characters from the show resembles a baby version of Yoda. Disney CEO Bob Iger told analysts Tuesday that “Baby Yoda” consumer products will go on sale in the coming months. He said the “sensational response” to the character said a lot about Disney Plus.
The company also said a second season for “The Mandalorian” is coming in October and said the priority for “Star Wars” going forward is through the streaming service. After 42 years, the franchise just concluded its nine-part core series with “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker” in theaters.
Disney has said the next “Star Wars” theatrical movie, which is to be set outside the Skywalker saga, isn’t scheduled for release until 2022.
(With AP inputs)