Explosive growth in the number of subscribers for Disney’s video streaming services that were launched just 16 months ago has forced analysts to forecast that the pioneer of the industry Netflix will lose its place as the biggest video streaming provider of the world within the next three years.
The total number of subscribers for Disney+ – the streaming service from Disney, had surpassed 100 million globally, the Walt Disney Company announced earlier this month. What is interesting is that this has been achieved by the platform since it was launched in late 2019 which the same milestone had taken a decade to achieve for Netflix.
This growth of Disney+ – when combined with the subscriber numbers for the group’s ESPN+ sports platform and Hulu subscription service in the United States, is expected to surpass Netflix by 2024.
The Mandalorian-driven success story has smashed the expectations of management, which had conservatively estimated it would take five years to reach 90 million subscribers. In December, an emboldened Disney tripled its target to 260 million by 2024 and doubled its content budget to $15bn (£10.8bn), underscoring its position as the third major force in the global streaming wars.
It took four years for Netflix to notch up its second 100 million subscribers as the company announced last month a total of 203.7 million subscribers globally. On the other hand, it is estimated that there are about 147 million regular users globally for Amazon Prime Video – which has a host of series such as Outlander and The Marvelous Mrs Maisel, as well as sport including Premier League football and NFL.
“Disney+ has obviously experienced some of the fastest growth seen from a subscription video-on-demand service; kudos to them for establishing themselves as a global force so fast,” said Richard Broughton, an analyst at Ampere Analysis. “While Disney+ is still only half the size of Netflix, it has reached that milestone in an unprecedented timescale.”
Amazon Prime Video would be overtaken by Disney+ by 2024 and become the second most popular video streaming service, Ampere said. But it would be at least 2025 that Netflix will be at the with subscriber numbers predicted to hit 247 million and 286 million respectively for Netflix and Disney+, he predicted. But if the total subscriber numbers for ESPN+ and Hulu is accounted for, the Walt Disney Company would get ahead of Netflix in two or three years’ time on the overall.
On the overall, the Disney Group is expected to hit subscriber numbers of 266 million by the end of 2023 which would be slightly less than the predicted 269 million users of Netflix. The scene is predicted to change dramatically just a year later with forecasts of Walt Disney amassing 295 million subscribers compared to Netflix’s 279 million subscribers.
While Netflix enjoyed a record year on a global scale, the addition of 37 million new subscribers is the most in a single year in its history, Disney+ proved to be the biggest winner in the UK.
(Adapted from TheGuardian.com)