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Bulletins

Disney+ ended 2020 with 95 million subscribers

Disney last provided a Disney+ subscriber count in November.

Disney+ ended 2020 with 95 million subscribers
Photo: Marques Kaspbrak/Unsplash

Disney's streaming service had 94.9 million paying subscribers as of Jan. 2, 2021,, the company announced in conjunction with its holiday quarter earnings report Thursday. Across all of its subscription services, which includes Disney+, ESPN+ and Hulu, Disney ended the year with 146 million paying subscribers.


In that segment, Disney+ saw the strongest growth, with subscriber numbers more than doubling year-over-year. However, a significant chunk of those subscribers comes from India, where the company combined Disney+ with the Hotstar video service for a monthly price tag that's far below other markets. As a result, Disney+ revenue per subscriber fell 28% year-over-year.

Disney's weakest streaming business has been the live TV service that the company sells to a subset of Hulu customers. Hulu + Live TV, as the service is called, grew 25% year-over-year, totaling 4 million paying subscribers on Jan. 2. However, the service lost 100,000 subscribers in the last three months of the year. The company raised prices for its live TV service by mid-December, which could lead to further cancellations this quarter.

Disney last provided a Disney+ subscriber count in November, when the service had 86.8 million paying subscribers. At the time, the company also announced that it would increase the price of Disney+ by $1 next month. Disney CFO Christine McCarthy said Thursday that the company didn't expect many consumers to jump ship when that modest price increase kicks in. "We are very comfortable with the price-value relationship that we are offering," she said.

People

Making the economy work for Black entrepreneurs

Funding for Black-owned startups needs to grow. That's just the start.

"There is no quick fix to close the racial wealth and opportunity gaps, but there are many ways companies can help," said Mastercard's Michael Froman.

Photo: DigitalVision/Getty Images

Michael Froman is the vice chairman and president of Strategic Growth for Mastercard.

When Tanya Van Court's daughter shared her 9th birthday wish list — a bike and an investment account — Tanya had a moment of inspiration. She wondered whether helping more kids get excited about saving for goals and learning simple financial principles could help them build a pathway to financial security. With a goal of reaching every kid in America, she founded Goalsetter, a savings and financial literacy app for kids. Last month, Tanya brought in backers including NBA stars Kevin Durant and Chris Paul, raising $3.9 million in seed funding.

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Michael Froman
Michael Froman serves as vice chairman and president, Strategic Growth for Mastercard. He and his team drive inclusive growth efforts and partner across public and private sectors to address major societal and economic issues. From 2013 to 2017, Mike served as the U.S. trade representative, President Barack Obama’s principal adviser and negotiator on international trade and investment issues. He is a distinguished fellow of the Council on Foreign Relations and a member of the board of directors of The Walt Disney Company.
Sponsored Content

Building better relationships in the age of all-remote work

How Stripe, Xero and ModSquad work with external partners and customers in Slack channels to build stronger, lasting relationships.

Image: Original by Damian Zaleski

Every business leader knows you can learn the most about your customers and partners by meeting them face-to-face. But in the wake of Covid-19, the kinds of conversations that were taking place over coffee, meals and in company halls are now relegated to video conferences—which can be less effective for nurturing relationships—and email.

Email inboxes, with hard-to-search threads and siloed messages, not only slow down communication but are also an easy target for scammers. Earlier this year, Google reported more than 18 million daily malware and phishing emails related to Covid-19 scams in just one week and more than 240 million daily spam messages.

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Transforming 2021

Blockchain, QR codes and your phone: the race to build vaccine passports

Digital verification systems could give people the freedom to work and travel. Here's how they could actually happen.

One day, you might not need to carry that physical passport around, either.

Photo: CommonPass

There will come a time, hopefully in the near future, when you'll feel comfortable getting on a plane again. You might even stop at the lounge at the airport, head to the regional office when you land and maybe even see a concert that evening. This seemingly distant reality will depend upon vaccine rollouts continuing on schedule, an open-sourced digital verification system and, amazingly, the blockchain.

Several countries around the world have begun to prepare for what comes after vaccinations. Swaths of the population will be vaccinated before others, but that hasn't stopped industries decimated by the pandemic from pioneering ways to get some people back to work and play. One of the most promising efforts is the idea of a "vaccine passport," which would allow individuals to show proof that they've been vaccinated against COVID-19 in a way that could be verified by businesses to allow them to travel, work or relax in public without a great fear of spreading the virus.

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Mike Murphy

Mike Murphy ( @mcwm) is the director of special projects at Protocol, focusing on the industries being rapidly upended by technology and the companies disrupting incumbents. Previously, Mike was the technology editor at Quartz, where he frequently wrote on robotics, artificial intelligence, and consumer electronics.

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