Disney sees strong growth in Disney+, Hulu and ESPN+ subscribers, expecting 325 million by 2024. The company is banking on international expansion of the Disney service and the Indian streaming service Star, as well as new releases of Marvel and Star Wars.
Disney (DIS) held an "Investor Day" on Thursday, reporting gains in subscriber growth for its streaming services, which speaks to growing competition with established industry leader Netflix (NFLX).
Shares in Disney, up 7% since the start of the year and 34% over the past six months, hit an all-time high in trading on Thursday.
Disney reported 86.8 million subscribers to its Disney streaming service, launching on 12 November 2019. The figure indicates a jump in audience growth of 13.8 million, up from 73 million at the end of the fourth fiscal quarter ended 30 September.
Bob Chapek said" "Disney has exceeded its wildest expectations". Also, he added that all content will end up on Disney sooner or later.
As of last week, the number of subscribers to the Hulu service, aimed at adult audiences, had reached almost 39 million. Streaming sports content service ESPN+ also saw a jump in demand, tripling to more than 11 million subscribers in the past year as sports fans were restricted to offline formats due to the pandemic. The company said the current number of ESPN+ subscriptions is above the average forecast for 2024. Viewers watched 5 billion minutes of sports content last year.
However, the company said it now expects to see 230 to 260 million Disney subscribers and 325 million viewers of all its streaming services together by 2024.
Disney also said it plans to increase the cost of a Disney subscription by $1 to $7.99. For European subscribers, the plan will increase by €2.
The company expects to peak losses in fiscal 2021 and reach profitability by fiscal 2024. Disney's planned investment in major brands is between $8bn and $9bn by 2024.
On Thursday, Disney executives spent a lot of time on the prospects and role of the streaming service Star, an Indian brand that will be added to Disney to expand content.
Star will be integrated into the Disney app from 23 February 2021.