Financial analysts and investors who were positive about the Disney stock are on cloud nine post The Walt Disney Company’s Investor Day announcements on 10 December. Not only has the House of Mouse exceeded expectations, but has highly impressed investors with its one-year-old streaming service Disney+.
The company announced that Disney+ had managed to add 13.1 million subscribers between October 2020 and 2 December 2020 to take Disney+’s tally up to 86.8 million subs. Now, that’s a phenomenal performance considering its debut in 2019! This was the target the House of Mouse had set for 2024.
While its rival counterpart, Netflix is about to reach 200 million subscriptions globally, one must remember that Disney+ reached the 50 million sign up mark within five months of its launch and its October 2020 figure was 73.7 million.
The media and entertainment colossal also said at the Investor Day that it has revised its 2024 outlook for the number of subs to 230 to 260 million from the 60 to 90 million it had set for that year during its last Investor Day in April 2019. Disney+ Hotstar would account for 30 to 40 per cent of that – equating to 69 million to 78 million and 92 million to 104 million subs for the Indian streamer.
This doesn’t seem like a distant dream for Disney as it boasts of a humongous enviable content library from Marvel, Star Wars, Walt Diney Animation Studios and Pixar Animation Studios among others. Netflix and Amazon Prime Video do not have access to Disney films which is an opportunity for the streaming service to up their OTT game even stronger on the global landscape. The company recently unveiled its slate consisting of 20 new Marvel and Star Wars series exclusively for Disney+.
Loyal Disney and Marvel fans across the globe are not able to keep calm since the media conglomerate has dropped new trailers and announced a plethora of new titles. It also announced that upcoming animated feature, Raya and the Last Dragon will be offered to Disney+ consumers with a premier access.
Disney said that it will add 10 Marvel series and 10 Star Wars series “over the next few years,” on its streaming platform apart from 15 series and 15 feature-length films that belong to Disney live-action genre. In fact, some of the films that were slated for theatrical release will now make their way directly on the streaming platform.
Disney’s Media and Entertainment Distribution unit head Kareem Daniel added, “ With the number of original exclusives on Disney+ and the ongoing additions of theatrical films and library titles to its catalogue, the service will be adding something new every week.”
Planning to add something new regularly in the near future, the media powerhouse will now be more competitive in nature, leading to a rise in its subscription prices. Disney revealed that it would be upping monthly prices by a single US dollar to $7.99 in the US and to €8.99 in Europe by March 2021. Hence, there’s a possibility that the same would be applicable in other countries including India. This will be the company’s first price bump for its streaming service since the launch.
In India, Disney+’s debut has been amazingly successful through its partnership with Hotstar as Disney+ Hotstar has about eight million subscribers in India (according to a report published by Tech Crunch in April, 2020). However, its partnership with Reliance owned telco, Jio might see some new or revised bundled plans being introduced in the market. Disney also forayed into the Indonesian market with Disney+ Hotstar a few months ago.
Being a profit-making market for Disney, the subscription fee for Indian users is speculated to be increased in 2021. However, no official confirmation or announcements have been made yet. Disney head of international operations Rebecca Campbell stated at the Investor Day summit, “India is a promising market opportunity. This is why we decided to launch Disney+ in conjunction with Hotstar to create a truly integrated entertainment experience for consumers in that market.”
As per reports, Disney will expand its streaming services to other markets such as Japan, Hong Kong, South Korea, and Eastern Europe in 2021.