Disney+ ended 2020 with 95 million subscribers
Disney last provided a Disney+ subscriber count in November.
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.
Janko Roettgers (@jank0) is a senior reporter at Protocol, reporting on the shifting power dynamics between tech, media, and entertainment, including the impact of new technologies. Previously, Janko was Variety's first-ever technology writer in San Francisco, where he covered big tech and emerging technologies. He has reported for Gigaom, Frankfurter Rundschau, Berliner Zeitung, and ORF, among others. He has written three books on consumer cord-cutting and online music and co-edited an anthology on internet subcultures. He lives with his family in Oakland.