Disney+ blows past 100 million subscriber milestone even as its growth starts to slow down

Disney+ blows past 100 million subscriber milestone even as its growth starts to slow down
As heated as the battle for global supremacy in the crowded video streaming space may have seemed just a couple of years ago, it has become increasingly clear in recent months that the market is largely headed for a duopoly.

That's because the likes of Apple TV+, HBO Max, and Peacock are not really going anywhere while Disney+ is practically going everywhere, growing at a Netflix-threatening pace quarter after quarter.

As expected at the end of last year, the late 2019-released streaming service has concluded the first quarter of 2021 well above the 100 million subscriber mark. Namely, Disney Plus counted a grand total of 103.6 million users around the world as of April 3, up from "just" 94.9 million subscribers on January 2, 2021.

That's a huge number for the ever-expanding Walt Disney Company no matter how you look at it, inching closer to Netflix's industry-leading 208 million paid subscriber base last updated in April for Q1 2021. 

While the gap between the two streaming giants may seem substantial (because it is), Disney+ has impressively managed to eat away at the global champ's advantage ever since it made its debut back in November 2019. This year's first quarter is no exception, although for the first time since the beginning of the COVID-19 pandemic, both Netflix and Disney+ failed to meet the expectations of industry pundits.

Following 29 and 28 percent surges in worldwide subscribers in Q3 and Q4 2020 compared to their previous quarters, Disney+ had to settle for the aforementioned 8.7 million sequential growth, equating to less than 10 percent, which was still more than enough to outpace Netflix's modest 4 million or so gain during Q1 2021.

If current projections hold up, Disney+ could reach anywhere between 230 and 260 million paid global subscribers by the end of 2024, which is when the streaming platform's parent company originally expected the service to sit at no more than 90 million users.

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In comparison (although it's obviously not a very fair one), Netflix broke the 100 million barrier at some point in 2017 after being founded in 1997 and branching out from the DVD sales and rental business to the online world in 2007.

Meanwhile, in case you're wondering, mum's the word on the paying subscriber figures of Apple TV+, which pretty much tells you everything you need to know about the much-hyped platform that essentially saw daylight at the same time as Disney+.

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