Disney Chief Executive Robert Iger has announced that the new Disney+ streaming service had 28.6 million subscribers as of this week, up from 10 million in November. That means the company almost tripled its subscriber base in just three months.
For comparison, Netflix, the pioneer in streaming television, took close to two years, from 2010 to 2012, to reach 28 million subscribers. Netflix as of the company's last disclosure, has 167 million subscribers. While Netflix was the only viable option for video streaming for years, the company now face stiff competition not only from Disney+ but also Amazon Prime Video, Apple+, and Crave, as well as HBO, CBS All Access, and, well, the list goes on. In the U.S., expect more competition in streaming services coming in 2020 with added options from Comcast and AT&T.
Iger said 20% of subscribers to Disney+ signed up through a branding partnership with U.S. Telco Verizon Communications, which offered the Disney streaming as a free of charge bundle to its unlimited data customers. While the majority of Disney+ subscribers reside in the U.S., the service was also concurrently made available in Canada for $9/mo. or $90/yr. But that doesn't include the Hulu/ESPN+ bundle that Americans enjoy.
Adding to the trend of companies reporting record profit, Disney has also announced that its film division has more than doubled from the same period last year, anchored by films like Frozen 2 and The Rise of Skywalker that both grossed over US$1 billion globally. For Disney's fiscal year, the company reported US$11 billion at the global box office, surpassing its past record of US$7.6 billion set in 2016. In 2019, Disney was accountable for seven of the top 10 grossing films of the year including The Lion King and Avengers: Endgame.
Amusement parks, which used to be the core of Disney's revenue, showed a modest increase of 10% in domestic attendance. But Iger warned that the company is anticipating a loss in the Asian market due to the Coronavirus shutting down Disney parks in both China and Hong Kong. "If Shanghai Disneyland remains closed for two months, the financial impact could be around US$135 million," said Disney CFO Christine McCarthy. She added the loss at the Hong Kong park could be US$40 million.
Revenue across all Disney platforms was reported at US$20.86 billion, and although that is a 36% increase year-over-year, it was only a slight increase in analyst's expected return of US$20.76 billion. Thus, the share price of Disney remained relatively flat showing only a 2.4% increase in afterhours trading.
One of biggest draws to the Disney+ service has been The Mandalorian