Despite being live in the USA, Canada and the Netherlands for but 24 hours, Disney+ racked up 10 million subscribers following its Tuesday launch.
Overcoming technical difficulties that rendered the new streamer nonoperational throughout launch day, many millions still flocked to the latest streaming giant.
That 10 million number seems mighty impressive on its own. However, it means so much more. Yes, that headline was a Toy Story Buzz Lightyear reference. Disney encourages us consumers to dream the impossible and reach for the stars, like Buzz would.
The sky is the limit for Disney+ going forward. So many factors work in its favor already. It was in position to vault into No. 1 streaming status even prior to its official introduction.
Disney owns multiple other streamers — and offers them in a bundle
ESPN has long been at least America’s most prominent sports media brand. Disney owns the four-letter network and by proxy, its own exclusive streaming platform, ESPN+.
Thanks to a major, multi-billion-dollar acquisition deal with Comcast, Disney also has full control of Hulu. That streamer stood well on its own against the likes of Netflix and Amazon Prime Video, to the tune of 26.8 million subscribers.
In April, Disney CFO Christine McCarthy projected at least 60 million Hulu subscribers by 2024. That figure could balloon to as many as 90 million. After all, some consider Hulu to be the best streaming service, period.
Between the incumbent Hulu and ESPN+ users, on top of the haul Disney+ racked up in a mere day, Disney now boasts roughly 40 million streaming subscribers all told. The Disney+ 10 million is merely a taste of what’s to come.
There’s now a bundle of Disney+, Hulu and ESPN+ at an extremely affordable $12.99 per month.
How does that compare with the best of the rest?
Well, Netflix has 158 million worldwide subscribers, per Statista. However, it’s limited to a streaming-specific niche and charges $12.99 per month. Its U.S. subscriber base is roughly 60 million.
Amazon Prime Video operates under that massive, multinational Amazon umbrella. There’s some leeway there for everything. Its subscriber base isn’t as clear, since Prime membership includes the video streaming with it.
Whether it’s taking losses, creating and buying preexisting content or boosting marketing, Amazon has the purchasing power to absorb it all. There’s leverage due to all the services offered to Prime members in addition to streaming.
Disney essentially took out the other main competitor in Hulu. It only seems a matter of time before the Mouse House essentially owns everything. Considering Netflix leaned on Pixar and Disney originals before Disney+ launched and snagged all those titles, it’s no surprise the companies’ stocks are heading in opposite directions.
Amazon is virtually an evergreen stock. It remains to be seen what happens with the newly launched Apple TV+ since Apple has such a strong company infrastructure.
Barclays estimates Apple TV+ will claim 100 million subscribers in its first year. That’s nothing to sneeze at.
Netflix is already in danger of being eclipsed as the biggest streaming subscriber base. Although Disney+ will take a while to be profitable, its launch in Europe in March 2020 marks a big step in ascending in the “Streaming Wars.”