Disney+ added 8.7 million new accounts to its global paid subscriber tally in the first three months of 2021. It now has 103.6 million paid subscribers, but growth seems to be slowing.
Disney+ Picks Up 8.7 Million New Global Subscribers
The company revealed this in a quarterly earnings update [PDF document], saying Disney+ had 103.6 million paid global subscribers as of April 3, 2021. Disney’s global numbers include Disney+ Hotstar, available in India and expanding to other markets soon.
For comparison’s sake, Disney+ had just 33 million subscribers in April 2020.
Wall Street analysts were expecting Disney+ to add 14.4 million new subscribers to its subscriber count during January, February, and March 2021, Variety reported, which would have expanded the service’s subscriber base to 109.3 million paid accounts.
However, Disney+ missed those expectations by 5.7 million.
Disney’s chief executive Bob Chapek expects subscriber growth to pick up steam when the current pandemic subsides and the service launches new movies and TV shows.
This is the first time Disney+ saw its subscriber growth decelerate following the service’s debut on November 12, 2019, in the US. The video service reported having 94.9 million subscribers at the start of 2021. And at its subsequent annual shareholder meeting, the company announced that it had 100 million subscribers as of March 9, 2021.
But now, Disney+ is seeing its global subscriber growth slowing.
Why Is Disney+ Growth Slowing?
The most reasonable explanation for the slower growth in the first calendar quarter of 2021 is Disney+’s price hike across many countries and regions where the service operates. Disney+ undercut many established streaming services when it launched at $ 6.99 in the US, £5.99 in the UK, and €6.99 in Europe per month.
After the price correction, people in the US pay a dollar extra for their Disney+ subscriptions at the new $ 7.99 price. In the UK and Europe, subscribers have to pay a little more at £7.99 and €8.99, respectively.
This was a planned increase—Disney has been spending a lot to fund its original content, with exclusive shows based on popular Marvel and Star Wars characters in the works.
How Disney+ Went From 0 to 100 Million Subscribers
The service was able to grow from 0 to 100 million subscribers in just 18 months thanks to its remarkably strong lineup of content coming from potent brands that Disney acquired over the years, like Pixar, Marvel, Star Wars, and National Geographic.
In addition, Disney+ also offers films and television series produced by The Walt Disney Studios and Walt Disney Television, as well as original films and TV shows.
Disney also launched a new Star section in December 2020, filled with adult-oriented TV shows and movies. In doing so, it essentially doubled the amount of content on Disney+ and evolved the service from a family-oriented platform to something everyone can enjoy.