Disney+, which originally predicted it would attract a maximum of 18 million subscribers by the end of 2020, instead closed the year with a whopping 94.9 million.
It gained 8 million of those subscribers in December alone.
Because of the service’s strong showing, parent company Disney has adjusted predictions and now expects it to have between 230 million and 260 million paying subscribers by September 2024, Variety reports.
In the Mouse House’s Q4 earnings call–during which these figures were revealed–CFO Christine McCarthy said Disney is “very pleased on the level of churn” for Disney+ subscribers in general, as well as the number of Verizon customers who converted from a free year of service to paying subscribers. (She didn’t give exact figures.)
Per Variety, measurement firm Nielsen attributes Disney+’s faster-than-expected growth to the significant success of original Star Wars spinoff The Mandalorian, plus on-platform premieres of major films like animated feature Soul.
Disney intends to double down on that kind of streaming-exclusive content: it announced in December that 80% of the 63 TV series and 42 films it plans to produce in 2021 are being developed for its direct-to-consumer streaming services.
Plus was not the only Disney-owned streaming service to see a pop in numbers: Hulu closed 2020 with 39.4 million subscribers, up 30% year-over-year; and ESPN Plus now has 12.1 million subscribers, up 83% YOY, the entertainment giant said.
Upcoming plans for Disney+ include a price uptick from $6.99 per month to $7.99 per month on its own, and from $12.99 per month to $13.99 per month bundled with ad-lite Hulu and ESPN Plus. That increase will take effect March 26.
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