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10 February 2022
Disney+ goes from strength to strength
TV channels, services, programmesTV & Connected TV planning & buying
Organic growth, new content, new markets and a strategic bundling decision are all contributing to drive growth at Disney+.
Why it matters
The Walt Disney Company operates in a range of sectors and Disney+ is attracting a range of age groups. The company sees the platform as “a content service, a franchise engine and as a venue for the next generation of Disney storytelling”, which will also help sell associated merchandise and attract visitors to its parks.
Disney+ added 11.8 million (net) subscribers in the three months to end-January and now has almost 130 million subscribers globally (the goal is 230-260 million by 2024).
The US market accounted for 4.1 million of those (including around 2 million incremental subscribers resulting from a strategic decision to include Disney+ and ESPN+ as part of a Hulu Live subscription).
Spending on Disney+ programming is expected to hit $33bn this year, with about one third of that going on sporting rights/production.
Just over half of the Disney+ consumer base does not have children.
“ [Disney+] is a very broad general service, driven by the Disney brand and driven by families, but what we’ve seen time and time again is that the elasticity of Disney and its brand is much greater than we might have given it credit” – Bob Chapek, CEO, The Walt Disney Company, speaking on an earnings call.
A different take
Research from organisations like Comcast and The Trade Desk indicate there’s a greater appetite for ad-supported streaming services than higher-cost ad-free ones. “Disney+ is in a strong position to open such subscription options with an already enormous and diverse first-party, addressable audience for advertisers,” says Ryan Cook, UK MD at Criteo, who further suggests Disney could lean into existing partnerships and further increase its breadth of audiences by trialling an ad-supported version of the service. “This would give Disney an incredibly high value proposition for advertisers.”