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Disney Plus crosses 100 million subscribers worldwide

Disney's streaming service hits 100 million just 16 months after launching, and it's halfway to Netflix's number of subscribers.

Walt Disney Pictures

Disney Plus has crossed 100 million subscribers, Disney CEO Bob Chapek said Tuesday. By comparison, that's about half the number of subscribers to Netflix, the biggest subscription video service in the world, which had more than 200 million global subscribers at the end of the year. 

Seen another way, Netflix entered the streaming business 13 years ago and took about a decade to hit 100 million streaming members; Disney Plus launched about 16 months ago. 

Disney Plus has proved to be the standout success of the so-called streaming wars, a period over the last year and a half when seemingly every major media company (and some tech ones) rolled out a streaming-video service. Disney Plus' growth has far outstripped that of all the new competitors from AppleHBONBCUniversalDiscovery and others. One media analyst called Disney Plus "one of the greatest product launches of all time." 

And the popularity of Disney Plus has far outstripped Disney's own initial predictions too: The company first projected Disney Plus would reach between 60 million and 90 million subscribers about five years after launch. Now it estimates that Disney Plus will have between 230 million and 260 million global subscribers by the time the service is 5 years old, in late 2024. 

But not all Disney Plus subscribers are created equal. In Europe and in India, Disney Plus is bundled as part of a broader streaming offering. And in countries like India, the price of a subscription is a fraction of what it costs in other markets of the world. 

Disney announced the latest figures at its virtual annual meeting of shareholders.

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