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Disney Plus hits 94.9 million subscribers in just over a year

Disney's streaming service is nearly halfway to Netflix's number of subscribers -- and Netflix had a 12-year head start.

Joan E. Solsman Former 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.
Expertise Streaming video, film, television and music; virtual, augmented and mixed reality; deep fakes and synthetic media; content moderation and misinformation online Credentials
  • 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)
Joan E. Solsman
Walt Disney Pictures

Disney Plus grew to 94.9 million subscribers as of Jan. 2, Disney said Thursday. That's 8 million subscribers added since early November, and more than three times the number of subscribers that Disney Plus had a year earlier. 

By comparison, Netflix, the biggest subscription video service in the world, had more than 200 million global subscribers at the end of the year. Netflix blazed the path of subscription streaming video, starting its streaming business 13 years ago; Disney Plus launched about 15 months ago. 

Disney, disclosing the numbers as part of its quarterly earnings report Thursday, also said that Hulu has 39.4 million subscribers in the US, up 30% from a year earlier, and ESPN Plus has 12.1 million subscribers, up 83% from the year-earlier period. 

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 the company has now beaten even the top end of that range in 15 months. Last month, Disney recalibrated its projections, estimating that Disney Plus will have between 230 million and 260 million global subscribers by the time the service is five years old in late 2024. 

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