The Walt Disney Company is expect to use its fourth-quarter earnings call Tuesday to announce that its new streaming service, Disney+, has quickly acquired 25 million to 30 million subscribers since it launched November 12.
“From zero to where they are now is unbelievable. The company should bask in the glow of what they’ve pulled off. They didn’t play it safe. But they did the right thing for the company,” said MoffettNathanson analyst Michael Nathanson, speaking during a conference call last week.
Disney said it signed up 10 million users in just a few days after the North American launch of the service. It hasn’t released figures since then, but there’s been a steady stream of anecdotal data suggesting Disney+ (aka “Disney Plus”) is now north of 20 million users. For example, a HarrisX poll, commissioned by MoffettNathanson, found 23% of U.S. streaming households sampled Disney+ from November 12 until the end of 2019.
The launch of Disney+ is a watershed moment for U.S. media companies—the result of a bold willingness to forsake short-term revenue in order to re-orient a massive content company to better serve fast-emerging consumer habits.
To get there, Disney carved out some effective distribution deals. For instance, it’s believed that a third of the Disney+ subscriber base comes from an agreement with Verizon, whereby the No. 1 U.S. wireless company is offering the service free for a year to unlimited data plan subscribers.
“The execution has been incredible,” Nathanson added.
Hulu Growth Spiked, Too
As Bloomberg reported this morning, the bundling of Hulu with Disney+ and ESPN+ resulted in accelerated growth for the former SVOD service.
Disney, which pulled Hulu into the oversight of its direct-to-consumer products group on Friday, and sent Hulu CEO Randy Freer packing, reported 28.5 million Hulu users at the end of Q3. That figure is expected to jump well above 30 million Tuesday when Disney reports Q4 numbers.
At least a few of the new Hulu signups will have been brought in through promotion. During the Super Bowl on Sunday, Hulu ran this pricey ad featuring New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady:
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