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Disney+ hits 50M subscribers 5 months after launch

Thomas Barrabi
·2 min read

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The Disney+ streaming service has surpassed 50 million paid subscribers in the five months since its debut, company executives announced Wednesday.

The latest update provided a glimpse at the rapid growth of Disney+ since the direct-to-consumer offering debuted last November. Subscriptions are up roughly 75 percent since Disney’s first-quarter earnings call on Feb. 4, when its subscriber base stood at 28.6 million users.

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“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,” said Kevin Mayer, chairman of Disney’s direct-to-consumer & international division. “Great storytelling inspires and uplifts, and we are in the fortunate position of being able to deliver a vast array of great entertainment rooted in joy and optimism on Disney+.”

Disney+ faces tough competition in an increasingly crowded U.S. streaming industry. Top rivals include industry leader Netflix, Apple and Amazon Prime Video. WarnerMedia’s HBO Max streaming service is set to debut later this year.

Netflix retains the biggest share of the streaming market, with 167.1 million global paid subscribers as of January. However, it took Netflix several years to surpass the 50 million subscriber milestone.

Disney has emphasized original content on its platform from leading properties such as Marvel, Star Wars and Pixar. The service debuted with Star Wars series “The Mandalorian” as its flagship offering with more films and shows expected to debut in the coming months.

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Streaming services have seen a surge in viewership in recent weeks due to the coronavirus pandemic. Authorities have issued shelter-in-place directives in cities around the world, forcing the public to stay indoors.

The total number of minutes streamed jumped by 85 percent in U.S. households through the first three weeks in March compared to the same period one year ago, Variety reported, citing Nielsen data.

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