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Disney reports nearly 87 million Disney+ subscribers

Credit: REUTERS/CARLO ALLEGRI

Walt Disney Co on Thursday kicked off a presentation to investors and reported its Disney+ streaming service now has 86.8 million subscribers.

By Lisa Richwine and Helen Coster

LOS ANGELES, Dec 10 (Reuters) - Walt Disney Co DIS.N on Thursday kicked off a presentation to investors and reported its Disney+ streaming service now has 86.8 million subscribers.

The entertainment conglomerate added about 13 million new customers since October.

Hollywood is closely following Disney's plans a week after AT&T Inc's T.N Warner Bros upended the film business by saying it would debut all of its 2021 movies on its HBO Max streaming service on the same day they hit theaters L1N2IJ1ZJ.

Disney is aiming to attract new subscribers to Disney+, the Netflix Inc NFLX.O competitor it launched a year ago, and the company's other streaming outlets. Netflix, which pioneered streaming in 2007, had 195 million paying subscribers at the end of October.

In October, Disney said it was restructuring the company to put more emphasis on streaming over traditional linear television to better meet customer demands. In addition to Disney+, the company offers Hulu and ESPN+, and next year will offer a streaming platform overseas under the Star brand.

Cinema chains including AMC Entertainment Holdings Inc AMC.N, Cineworld Group CINE.L and Cinemark Holdings Inc CNK.N are watching to see if Disney, the box-office leader last year, plans big changes to the slate of movies it has set for theaters.

Disney and other studios previously moved some films to streaming because the coronavirus pandemic has left many cinemas closed. Warner Bros. took the most aggressive action by saying it would release all 17 of its 2021 movies on the HBO Max streaming service the same day they debut in theaters.

Hollywood trade publications have reported that Disney has considered shifting the release of live-action movies including "Pinocchio," which stars Tom Hanks as Geppetto, as well as "Peter Pan & Wendy," to Disney+ from theaters.

Disney+ sign-ups have already surpassed the company's earlier projections.

In April 2019, the company had forecast that Disney+ would attract between 60 million and 90 million customers around the world by fiscal 2024. Last month, the company said it had already hit 74 million as of early October.

Disney+ has been boosted by the popularity of "The Mandalorian" TV series, a "Star Wars" spinoff featuring the character popularly known as Baby Yoda.

(Reporting by Lisa Richwine; Editing by Kenneth Li and Cynthia Osterman)

((lisa.richwine@thomsonreuters.com; Follow me on Twitter @LARichwine; 1-424-434-7324; Reuters Messaging: lisa.richwine.thomsonreuters.com@reuters.net))

The views and opinions expressed herein are the views and opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Nasdaq, Inc.

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