Disney+ hits a crucial figure four years ahead of expectations

Disney+ hits a crucial figure four years ahead of expectations
The Disney+ streaming service launched on November 12th and after just two weeks we called it "a real threat to Netflix." While that was met by more than a few skeptics among our loyal readers saying that we jumped the gun, the streamer has gone from strength to strength. According to Today, the House of Mouse released its fiscal third-quarter earnings and announced that as of Monday, Disney+ had 60.5 million paid subscribers. The company's goal of reaching 60 million to 90 million paid subscribers by 2024 was achieved four years earlier than expected thanks to the pandemic.

With many families locked inside because of the coronavirus outbreak, Disney+ provided entertainment featuring characters well-loved by parents and their children. And this afternoon, the entertainment firm announced that with movie theaters still closed, the live-action version of Mulan will launch exclusively on Disney+. The film will debut on the site beginning September 4th. However, it will still cost subscribers an additional $29.99 to watch the film on the platform.

Disney will launch another "general entertainment" streaming service next year

And as if we needed another streaming service in the world, Disney also announced an upcoming new "general entertainment" streamer that will debut next year; it will use the Star brand that Disney acquired from Fox. The streaming content offered by this streamer will include titles from companies already owned by Disney such as ABC Studios, Fox Television, FX, Freeform, 20th Century Studios, and Searchlight. In many markets, the new service will be integrated with Disney+.

While the most up-to-date numbers show 60.5 million paid subscribers for Disney+, during the fiscal third quarter that figure was 57.5 million while Hulu had 35.5 subscribers. Add in the 8.5 million ESPN+ paid members during the same three months and overall Disney had over 100 million subscribers paying for its streaming services.

The real test for Disney will come on Disney+'s one-year anniversary. That's because the initial batch of Verizon's unlimited subscribers, who receive a free one-year Disney+ subscription, will have to decide whether or not they want to lay out their own money to continue receiving the service. Unlike most things Disney, Disney+ is actually very reasonably priced at $6.99 per month or $69.99 for a year. Each account can include seven different user-profiles and four can stream on different screens simultaneously.

While it is obvious that Disney+ includes Disney's classic animation like Cinderella, the Lion King, and Beauty and the Beast, it also includes Pixar classics like all of the Toy Story films. If you grew up on Disney Channel shows like That's So Raven, Even Stevens, Hannah Montana, and Lizzie McGuire, they are all on the app as well. And some shows that were broadcast on network television while produced by Disney, such as the very underrated Boy Meets World, make great binge-watching fare. Star Wars fans can view every film from the series and relive the moments when you first met characters like Luke, Darth Vader, R2D2, and Jar Jar Binks. Other Star Wars related titles can be streamed include Disney+'s first breakout hit The Mandalorian which introduced us to the adorable Baby Yoda.

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Marvel fans can turn to Disney+ to watch the Avengers, Iron Man, and Black Panther films. And adventure junkies will surely find content to watch under the National Geographic heading on the app. While the service might not cater to all tastes as Netflix does, you shouldn't have a problem discovering something to stream on Disney+.

Discussing the results of its streaming services during the quarter, Disney CEO Bob Chapek said, "Despite the ongoing challenges of the pandemic, we’ve continued to build on the incredible success of Disney+ as we grow our global direct-to-consumer businesse. The global reach of our full portfolio of direct-to-consumer services now exceeds an astounding 100 million paid subscriptions — a significant milestone and a reaffirmation of our DTC strategy, which we view as key to the future growth of our company."

If you have an iPhone, iPad, or iPod touch, you can download Disney+ from the Apple App Store. Those with an Android device can do the same from the Google Play Store. And the app can be loaded on the web at www.disneyplus.com. But be careful. Watch Disney+ for too long and you might start feeling a little goofy.

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