Disney+ keeps growing at a crazy, Netflix-threatening pace

Disney+ keeps growing at a crazy, Netflix-threatening pace
There aren't a lot of businesses or industries that have managed to thrive since the beginning of the coronavirus pandemic, but as billions of people around the world felt compelled to spend significantly more time at home than usual, video streaming services predictably blew up.

One such platform in particular had a tremendous first nine months of the year, consolidating and further boosting its exceptional popularity attained shortly after a November 2019 debut. We're obviously talking about Disney+ (sorry, Apple), which broke the 10 million subscriber barrier in just 24 hours last year on its way to racking up 73.7 million paying customers by the end of September 2020.

To put that number in perspective, we'd like to remind you The Walt Disney Company initially set a very conservative goal of reaching anywhere between 60 and 90 million paid subscribers... by 2024. That objective was actually cleared during the April - June 2020 quarter, which Disney+ concluded at 60.5 million customers, with the latest analyst projections likely to send shivers down the spine of Netflix's top execs.

While the streaming industry veteran remains the comfortable leader of this increasingly competitive global market, with 195 million total subscribers, its growth pace is nowhere near as impressive as it used to be before Disney+, Apple TV+, and NBC's Peacock entered the scene. 

That 195 mil count at the end of the year's third calendar quarter is only 2.2 million higher than the subscriber tally reported three months earlier, and although Netflix expects to clear 200 million during the holiday season, that's still nothing compared to how Disney+ could keep growing in the next few years.

The rising video streaming service is forecasted to jump to as many as 230 million paying customers by the end of 2025, which might not be enough to surpass Netflix but it sounds pretty darn close. In the short run, however, Disney+ is likely to lose subscribers (or at least considerably slow down its progress), with a potentially large number of free 1-year trials offered to Verizon customers expiring soon.

Unfortunately (and wholly unsurprisingly), Disney isn't ready to disclose how many of its aforementioned 73.7 million "paid" subscribers haven't actually paid for their subscription yet, so the degree to which the service will start to be impacted by the expiring extended trials remains to be seen. Meanwhile, the special bundle offer combining Disney+, Hulu, and ESPN+ for the low monthly cost of $12.99 is still up for grabs, undoubtedly contributing to the growing popularity of all three platforms.

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