Disney+ Is Already Approaching 2 Million Subscribers

Yesterday, Disney (NYSE: DIS) launched its highly anticipated video-streaming service Disney+, which was mired by various technical glitches. The company attributed the hiccups to overwhelming demand, which wouldn't be the first time. A promotion from a few months back that brought the service's cost down to less than $4 per month when committing to a three-year subscription caused Disney's site to crash, in another sign of strong demand. CEO Bob Iger has characterized Disney+ as the most important -- and riskiest -- product launch under his tenure.

Disney+ might already have 1.9 million subscribers.

The demand for #DisneyPlus has exceeded our highest expectations. We are so pleased you're excited to watch all your favorites and are working quickly to resolve any current issues. We appreciate your patience.

— Disney+ (@disneyplus) November 12, 2019

Sprinting out of the gate

Business Insider reports that Disney+ had already garnered 1.9 million U.S. subscribers ahead of yesterday's launch, citing data from analytics specialist Jumpshot. That's up from the roughly 1 million subscribers that had signed up for the service at the end of October, according to data that Jumpshot previously shared with TechCrunch.

Disney+ interface displayed on a TV

Image source: Disney.

Pre-launch sign-ups surged during the aforementioned promotion, while interest has been slowly ramping up in recent weeks, the data shows, as Disney has been pulling out all of the marketing stops. Jumpshot derives its estimates, which only cover the U.S., from a panel of online consumers that it tracks using anonymized clickstream data.

Grabbing nearly 2 million U.S. subscribers ahead of launch would represent a solid head start. Disney is hoping to grow the service's subscriber base to between 60 million and 90 million by 2024, according to The Hollywood Reporter. "The early response has been great," Iger told the outlet last month.

Disney has nearly 32 million Hulu and ESPN+ subscribers

Disney has numerous levers that it is pulling to drive growth, including broad distribution partnerships and bundling. After an impasse related to advertising, Disney recently inked a deal with Amazon to offer Disney+ on the e-commerce giant's Fire TV platform, which now has 37 million monthly active users (MAUs) globally. Wireless carrier Verizon is including a free year of Disney+ with unlimited cellular data plans and 5G home internet plans. The House of Mouse is also aggressively bundling ESPN+, Hulu, and Disney+ for $13 per month.

Recognizing the importance of over-the-top (OTT) streaming services to its future, Disney CFO Christine McCarthy said earlier this year that the company would start regularly disclosing subscriber metrics.

Service Q3 2019 Subscribers  Q4 2019 Subscribers
Hulu 28 million 28.5 million
ESPN+ 2.4 million 3.4 million

Data source: Company earnings calls. Fiscal quarters shown.

The company hasn't directly shared any Disney+ subscriber figures yet, but it sounds like investors can probably expect to hear more on that front pretty soon.

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