Remember back when each individual channel tried to launch its own streaming service that was available on SmartTV platforms but never really took off. Those channels were likely just ahead of their time, as demonstrated by the insurmountable success that Disney has seen with its own streaming platform launch, Disney Plus, just a few months ago.
The Walt Disney Company reported by way of CEO Bob Iger on Tuesday during its earnings call that it’s already racked up a whopping 28.6 million monthly subscribers. Netflix, which has been growing its subscriber count since before 2000, reported just a little over 60 million subscribers in the United States at the end of 2019. For a company that only launched its streaming service less than six months ago, Disney’s success is both unsurprising and jaw dropping.
Netflix, which holds around 167 million subscribers globally, has a stronghold over Disney in a global market with its recent investments into other worldwide film industries like Bollywood. The company also recently acquired the streaming rights to the entire Studio Ghibli library—a hot ticket title that has been passed around a few times over the last year.
Disney also holds a controlling stake at Hulu, which holds nearly 30 million subscribers on its own, and is also considered one of the major streaming platforms available today. But the company likely could not have gotten a stronghold over the streaming industry in the way that it has today if it had started years ago like so many other individual cable networks tried to do.
Where Disney found success was in its strategy—by licensing out its content to platforms like Netflix and Hulu until streaming took off as a major competitor to cable television. Consumers were hardly on board with streaming just a few years ago, but the availability of technologies to help bring streaming easily to home TV’s, as well as the arrival of faster wireless internet speeds like 4G LTE, helped make streaming the preferred way of watching shows and movies.
Even for live programs, streaming giants like Hulu are able to pull subscribers in and get them to ditch cable. And with more and more original content coming to each individual streaming platform every month, consumers have more of an incentive than ever to ditch their cable boxes once and for all.
In the coming months, Disney Plus will bring more original content to its platform to draw in fans of different franchises from Marvel and Star Wars to National Geographic and children’s programming. Thanks to its current schedule of upcoming original content, The Walt Disney Company predicts that its subscriber count could double or triple in the next couple of years.