Disney+ subscriptions soar to 28.6 million, topping estimates

Carla Harmon
February 5, 2020

"We had a strong first quarter, highlighted by the launch of Disney+, which has exceeded even our greatest expectations", said Disney Chairman and CEO Robert Iger in a statement.

Disney+ has a major edge over ‌Apple TV‌+ because Disney+ has an established catalog of content along with many popular Star Wars and Marvel franchises.

Iger also gave an update on Disney Plus subscription sign-ups and it was very good news for the company.

The Walt Disney Company just announced that its streaming service Disney+ has 26.5 million paying subscribers - ahead of the already impressive 25 million predicted by Wall Street analysts. Hulu grew to 30.7 million subscribers, while ESPN Plus grew to 7.6 million subscribers.

Earlier this week, Disney released a sneak peek trailer of the upcoming Marvel shows coming to Disney+, including "The Falcon And The Winter Soldier". "We are now well positioned to not only withstand the disruptive forces of technology, but thrive in today's increasingly dynamic media environment".

Disney+ had 26.5 million subscribers at the end of December 28, while analysts at three brokerages had expected the company to report 20 million subscribers. Disney+ also has a promotional tie-in with Verizon Communications Inc.

Overall revenue rose 36% to $20.86 billion, beating estimate of $20.79 billion according to IBES data from Refinitiv. Those two films were among seven that topped $1 billion in box-office sales for the company past year. On the earnings call, Chief Financial Officer Christine McCarthy said Disney expects the Shanghai park closure alone to crimp profits in the current quarter by $135 million, assuming it is shuttered for two months.

Disney's TV unit saw its earnings rise 23 per cent, with the addition of the Fox cable networks and TV studio.

"The quarter itself, it really seemed fairly positive", he said.

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