In just five months, the Disney+ video streaming service has gained 50 million paid subscribers around the world, causing Disney shares to jump overnight.
The news pushed Walt Disney Co. (NYSE: DIS) stock up nearly 5% in premarket trading Thursday.
“We’re truly humbled that Disney+ is resonating with millions around the globe, and believe this bodes well for our continued expansion throughout Western Europe and into Japan and all of Latin America later this year,” Kevin Mayer, Chairman of Walt Disney Direct-to-Consumer & International, said in a statement.
The number includes nearly 8 million new subscribers from India — where Disney+ rolled out last week — and 42 million from markets in North America and Western Europe.
The latest figures put the service well on track to meet its goal of between 60 million and 90 million paid subscribers by 2024.
What is Disney+?
It is a streaming service created by The Walt Disney Co.
The platform has thousands of Disney and Disney-owned properties and series available to watch on smartphones, TVs, laptops, tablets and gaming devices.
Content for the service comes from a variety of sources — all owned by Walt Disney Studios and Walt Disney Television. These sources include Pixar, Marvel, Star Wars, National Geographic and 20th Century Fox, which is quite the selection adding up to thousands of hours of entertainment.
Where is Disney+?
The streaming service was initially launched in the U.S. and Canada in November. It added the Netherlands, Australia, New Zealand and Puerto Rico shortly after.
In the last two weeks, it was rolled out in the U.K., Ireland, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Austria and Switzerland.
The service costs $6.99 per month, which is quite cheap compared to competitors like Netflix. There is also an option to bundle it with Hulu and ESPN+ for $12.99 per month.
What’s Next for Disney Shares?
In its fiscal first quarter, Disney reported earnings per share of $1.53 vs. $1.44 expected, according to Refinitiv. Revenue also scored a win at $20.86 billion vs. $20.79 billion expected.
It was the first earnings report since the Nov. 12 launch of Disney+, which then-CEO Bob Iger said “exceeded even our greatest expectations,” growing to 28.6 million subscribers with an average of $5.56 in revenue per user.
Iger also said during the earnings call that ESPN+ has 7.6 million subscribers, generating $4.44 in revenue per sub, and Hulu has 30.7 million, generating $59.47 in revenue per sub.
Disney’s movie department made $3.76 billion in revenue during the quarter, up from $1.8 billion during the same period a year ago. The spike was mostly due to the successful theatrical releases of “Frozen II” and “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker.”
However, the impacts of the coronavirus spread took its toll on Disney shares.
After reaching $144 per share in early February, the stock tanked by more than 40% and Disney was forced to close all of its theme parks.
That, coupled with the news that Iger was stepping down as CEO of the company, added pressure to the stock.
While the news of a surge in Disney+ subscribers is welcome, it will take re-opening its parks and resuming entertainment production, including the opening of movie theaters, to bring its share price back on track to its pre-coronavirus levels.