Disney Plus hits 86.8 million subscribers, expects at least 230 million in four years
Netflix, which started streaming 13 years ago, expects to cross the 200 million subscriber mark before the end of this year.
Joan E. SolsmanFormer Senior Reporter
Joan E. Solsman was CNET's senior media reporter, covering the intersection of entertainment and technology. She's reported from locations spanning from Disneyland to Serbian refugee camps, and she previously wrote for Dow Jones Newswires and The Wall Street Journal. She bikes to get almost everywhere and has been doored only once.
ExpertiseStreaming video, film, television and music; virtual, augmented and mixed reality; deep fakes and synthetic media; content moderation and misinformation onlineCredentials
Three Folio Eddie award wins: 2018 science & technology writing (Cartoon bunnies are hacking your brain), 2021 analysis (Deepfakes' election threat isn't what you'd think) and 2022 culture article (Apple's CODA Takes You Into an Inner World of Sign)
Disney Plus grew to 86.8 million subscribers a little over a year after its launch in November 2019, Disney said. That's an additional 13 million subscribers added in just a couple of months since late September, likely spurred by new rollouts in Latin America. And looking down the road to late 2024, Disney projected that Disney Plus will have between 230 million and 260 million global subscribers by the time the service is five years old.
By comparison, Netflix, the biggest subscription video service in the world, expects to cross 200 million global subscribers by the end of the year. Netflix started its streaming business 13 years ago.
Overall, the popularity of Disney Plus has far outstripped Disney's own initial predictions: The company first projected Disney Plus would reach between 60 million and 90 million subscribers about five years after launch. But within just one year, at 86.8 million, Disney Plus was in spitting distance of exceeding the top end of that range.
Disney also noted that Hulu has grown to 38.8 million subscribers as of Dec. 2, up 2.2 million since late September. And ESPN Plus hit 11.5 million, growth of 1.2 million members in about two months.