Disney Plus Jumps to 28.6M Subscribers, Exceeding Expectations

(Image credit: Disney+)

The Walt Disney Co. announced that its new Disney Plus Streaming services has 28.6 million subscribers, surpassing the low end of analysts' expectations.

The day Disney Plus launched on Nov. 12, Disney announced that it had exceeded 10 million subscribers.  

At the end of the fourth quarter, Disney Plus had 26.5 million subscribers. But on Disney's earnings call, CEO Bob Iger updated the figure to reflect paid signups through Monday. 

Iger called the launch "an enormous success," adding that it is exceeding the company's expectations. 

He said that conversions of free to pay subscribers and churn were better than the company predicted.

Iger also said season two of The Mandalorian will launch on Disney Plus in October.

Disney has pivoted into the streaming business. In its fourth-quarter earnings report released Tuesday, it said that Hulu had 30.4 million subscribers -- with 27.2 million subscribing to the SVOD service only and 3.2 million to the Hulu Plus Live TV  service -- and that ESPN+ has 6.6 million subscribers.

On the earnings call Iger said that as of Monday, ESPN+ had 7.6 million subscribers, helped by the recent Conor McGregor UFC fight, which brought in about a million pay-per-view purchases and a half-million new subscribers.

Hulu was up to 30.7 million subscribers as of Monday.

The average revenue per Disney Plus subscriber was $5.56, the average ESPN+ subscriber generated $4.44, the average Hulu SVOD subscriber generated $13.15 dollars (including ad revenues) and Hulu Plus Live TV subscribers generated $59.47.

Total revenue for Disney’s Direct-to-Consumer & International unit rose to $4 billion from $900 million a year ago. But the unit’s operating loss jumped to $693 million from $136 million a year ago.

“We had a strong first quarter, highlighted by the launch of Disney Plus, which has exceeded even our greatest expectations,” said Iger. “Thanks to our incredible collection of brands, outstanding content from our creative engines and state-of-the-art technology, we believe our direct-to-consumer services, including Disney+, ESPN+ and Hulu, position us well for continued growth in today’s dynamic media environment.”

Jon Lafayette

Jon has been business editor of Broadcasting+Cable since 2010. He focuses on revenue-generating activities, including advertising and distribution, as well as executive intrigue and merger and acquisition activity. Just about any story is fair game, if a dollar sign can make its way into the article. Before B+C, Jon covered the industry for TVWeek, Cable World, Electronic Media, Advertising Age and The New York Post. A native New Yorker, Jon is hiding in plain sight in the suburbs of Chicago.