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Disney Plus Will Surpass Netflix in Customers by 2026, Research Company Says

The Disney Plus app
(Image credit: Disney)

Digital TV Research now says that Disney Plus will surpass Netflix in subscribers at around 294 million globally by 2026.

This prediction triggered our BS detectors just a bit, since the same research company as recently as November had forecasted Disney Plus to reach only around 194 million customers by 2025. But it turns out that Digital TV Research hardly has plenty of cover here. 

“In November, we didn't realize how quickly Disney Plus Hotstar was going to take off in India. I don't think that Disney did either considering how much they increased their own forecasts by,” Simon Murray, principal analyst at Digital TV Research, said in an email to Next TV Monday morning. 

In December, Disney released a revised forecast predicting its 14-month-old subscription streaming service would obtain between 230 million - 260 million subscribers by 2024. That nearly tripled earlier guidance. 

Both Disney and Murray attribute the acceleration to Hotstar. In fact, Disney Plus will only have more subscribers than Netflix in one only country, India, the research firm predicts--there will be 98 million Disney+ Hotstar subscribers versus 13 million for Netflix in 2026, according to the forecast. 

And while Disney Plus will surpass Netflix in subscribers, the lower fees it charges in India means it would beat Netflix in revenue. 

He predicts global revenue for Disney Plus will be $20.76 billion by 2026,  half of Netflix’s $39.52 billion. 

“Disney Plus Hotstar will roll out to 13 Asian countries by 2026. These countries will supply 108 million (37%) of the global Disney Plus subscriber total, but only $2.62 million (13%) of the platform’s revenues by 2026. Hotstar subscribers pay less than a third of the monthly subscription fee of their U.S. counterpart,” Murray said. 

Notably, Murray also predicts that HBO and Apple TV Plus will actually retrench from their current sizes over the next five years. 

Digital TV Research 2026 SVOD forecast

(Image credit: Digital TV Research)