Disney+ Surpasses 100 Million Paid Subscribers

Posted on March 10, 2021 by Paul Thurrott in Disney+ with 11 Comments

The Walt Disney Company announced last night that its Disney+ streaming service now has over 100 million paid subscribers. The service launched just 16 months ago.

“The enormous success of Disney+, which has now surpassed 100 million subscribers, has inspired us to be even more ambitious, and to significantly increase our investment in the development of high-quality content,” Disney CEO Bob Chapek said. “In fact, we set a target of 100+ new titles per year, and this includes Disney Animation, Disney Live Action, Marvel, Star Wars, and National Geographic. Our direct-to-consumer business is the Company’s top priority, and our robust pipeline of content will continue to fuel its growth.”

With this milestone, Disney+ is now half the size of Netflix—which reported 200 million subscribers back in January—but is well ahead of most of the industry and is experiencing much more rapid growth.

As you may recall, Disney+ launched in the U.S. in November 2019 and began expanding into Europe just two months later. The service is also available in Canada, Australia, New Zealand, Europe, Latin America, and Singapore.

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Comments (14)

14 responses to “Disney+ Surpasses 100 Million Paid Subscribers”

  1. StevenLayton

    We subscribe to both Netflix and Disney. In our household, with young kids, if we had to ditch one I think Netflix would loose out. Now that Disney+ has added that Star Channel, there is even more old but great content to binge. I could confuse myself all over again with Lost!

    • Sir_Timbit

      In reply to StevenLayton:

      Yep, we just cancelled Netflix in our household and just have Disney for now. I suspect we'll be switching the various services going forward, but for now, there's more than enough on Disney.


      • thretosix

        In reply to Sir_Timbit:

        This is the line of thinking I have been going through. Disney+ seems to be grinding out content, by next year there will be lots of new content specifically from Marvel and Star Wars that makes it worth keeping active. Keeping Amazon Prime has it's advantages to with prime shipping. I feel with services like Netflix and other streaming platforms I can pause the subscription until I can binge a few series over a month, in a sense playing musical chairs with streaming apps so I don't have to pay for them all at once.

  2. Jippa Wip

    Meanwhile at Apple... crickets...

    Apple TV and Disney+ launched at the same time lol.

    • red.radar

      In reply to Jippa Wip:

      If Apple didn't extend the free trial period I would have definitely canceled. Apple just doesn't have the back catalog to keep people engaged.

    • samp

      In reply to Jippa Wip:

      Apple is the only company trying to enter this industry besides Amazon (which most of its content isn't as high quality as its competitors, I dare say they wouldn't be where they are if it wasn't included free with prime) that isn't a film or TV company. Everything they offer on it has to be made afresh, while Disney can offer every good Disney movie ever made, which will keep people entertained for some time.

    • Paul Thurrott

      This is a good example of being all-in vs. not being all-in.
    • Brett Barbier

      In reply to Jippa Wip:

      I've wondered a bit why Apple hasn't just bought a movie company (or buy exclusive streaming rights to their entire catalog), like MGM, or Sony Pictures, or any others that don't have their own streaming service.

      • Paul Thurrott

        Why does Apple even need to be in the content business? This is high-risk, high-cost, and mostly low reward.
        • Brett Barbier

          In reply to paul-thurrott:

          Great question... hadn't really considered the "why". my assumption has been that the potential reward from these streaming services must be perceived as pretty high, not low - if it's low reward, why are so many companies pushing new streaming services?


          If it IS low reward on its own, I'd guess it's likely all about boosting the overall value of their bundled subscription options.


          I wouldn't recommend that a anyone subscribe to the TV service on its own right now on a regular basis - at most, I'd tell folks to sign up for a month or two, and watch Ted Lasso, and then give a few other things a shot. But I think there's a free one month trial of their bundled service (Apple One"?), so that is the smarter move.


          Basically if someone wants, or already has, Apple Music, and already pays a 2-3 bucks for more iCloud space (or needs more space), then for just a couple of more bucks, they'd get the TV and arcade services. And for a couple of bucks extra a month, probably lots of people would think that's not a bad deal.



          • Paul Thurrott

            Disney is a content company. They've seen the future and are investing heavily in Disney+. Apple is a consumer electronics giant, not a content company. I'm sure they can pay for high-quality content, and have. But this doesn't seem like a core market for Apple to me.
  3. red.radar

    Story that spans decades. Disney doesn't get the accolades because they cater to basic themes that are safe for the family or just "fun". However that is where the money is. Families want access to a library of content they don't have to police when their kids turn on the TV. That market is massive.


    I think too many of the content creators and providers try to chase the HBO edge to get the critical acclaim. However the market for that is smaller than people will want to admit. With exception to Disney it seems like all the streaming providers are going after the same limited demographic.


    I am not surprised Disney is just printing money with Disney+. Considering the effect the pandemic has had on their other business lines, It will be an interesting case study.

    • mattbg

      In reply to red.radar:

      Agree on the "babysitting" (or "ambient") aspect of the streaming value proposition.


      I always had a sense that streaming was more about what the platform represents than the actual content, and had my self-doubts until I recently heard someone say matter-of-factly that they primarily appreciate Netflix for its ability to play something in the background that sets a mood while they are doing something else.


      It shouldn't be a surprise because "waiting room TV" was a thing well before streaming. My mind just stops me from doing that because I know it's not a broadcast, so my mind turns to "what a waste of bandwidth" - but most people don't think about things in those terms and it explains why Netflix holds an audience despite the piles of redundant content.


      That's where Apple misjudged with TV+ - they thought it was about the quality of the content rather than the quantity.

  4. codymesh

    I'm surprised that Disney+ launched in my country (Singapore) so early. The internet services market usually tends to only expand to south-east-asia only after launching in the west. Times are changing!


    Disney has been on an all-out advertising spree here, for the launch, they did with a light show and projections unto skyscrapers, and they advertise outdoors very heavily. A local cable provider is also offering Disney+ free with their plans. Disney's pull on the industry is immense

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