Disney Plus is a new streaming service launched by the American entertainment titan in November 2019, a little over two years after being announced. Disney first signalled an intention to move into the streaming market in 2016, by acquiring a minority stake in streaming technology developer BAMTech. This became a 75% stake the following year. The service is part of Disney’s Direct-to-Consumer & International business, alongside Hulu and ESPN+.

Available initially in the US, Canada, and the Netherlands, Disney Plus launched in Australia and New Zealand one week later. Anticipation levels were certainly high, with Disney Plus the top-trending Google search term in the US in 2019. Within 24 hours the eagerly-awaited new platform had reached 10 million subscribers (though some of these had signed up pre-release).

Star Wars spin-off The Mandalorian, featuring the meme-friendly ‘Baby Yoda’, helped cement platform’s flying start, becoming the world’s most in-demand show for a time. By the end of 2019 Disney Plus had already gained quarter of a million users. This figure had doubled to 50 million by April 2020.

At this point Disney Plus had taken the next steps to internationalisation, having launched in a number of key European markets and India (through its existing Hotstar service). More markets in Europe, Latin America, and Asia are due to follow in 2020.

Disney Plus’s great strength is its content. At launch, the service offered a much smaller content library than rivals like Netflix or Amazon. It is acknowledged, however, that’s Disney’s strengths lie in quality over quantity.

The Star Wars franchise, to which The Mandalorian belongs, is just one example of the much-loved content owned by the entertainment juggernaut. The Marvel and Pixar production houses are  subsidiaries of the House of Mouse, which also owns the entire back catalogue of The Simpsons by virtue of its acquisition of 21st Century Fox. Disney titles have also migrated from other platforms (many from Netflix), giving the platform considerable appeal to younger households.

It is on these grounds that Disney Plus is being taken as a very serious rival to the likes of Netflix and Amazon Prime. While the marketplace is already crowded, certainly the entry into the field of the world’s second-biggest entertainment company, a name that has boasted name recognition across the globe for the best part of a century, is a game changer.

We’ve collected some Disney Plus stats below, including Disney Plus subscriber growth, Disney Plus ARPU, and wider segment revenue for Disney Direct-to-Consumer & International. Read on to find out more.

Disney Plus Overview

Launch date12 November 2019
HQBurbank, California
PeopleRicky Straus (president, content & marketing), Vanessa Morrison (president of streaming)
Parent companyThe Walt Disney Company
DivisionWalt Disney Direct-to-Consumer & International
Company typePublic (NYSE: DIS)

 Disney Plus User Statistics

Disney Plus subscribers
November 201910 million
Dec 201926.5 million
February 202028.6 million
April 202050 million

Source: TechCrunch

Disney Plus downloads
First day following 12 Nov 2019 launch10 million
First month following 12 Nov 2019 launch28 million
European downloads, first day following 24 March 2020 European launch5 million
European downloads, first month following 24 March 2020 European launch15.6 million
Global downloads, first month following 24 March 2020 European launch21 million

Source: The VergeVarietySensor Tower

Disney Plus Financials

Disney Plus mobile revenue
Month following 12 November 2019 launch$55 million
Month following 24 March 2020 (Europe only)$18.5 million

Source: Sensor Tower

Disney Direct-to-Consumer & International revenue1
Q1 20192$0.9 billion
Q2 2019$1.1 billion
Q4 2019$3.4 billion
FY 2019$9.3 billion
Q1 20203$4 billion
Q2 2020$4.1 billion

1. Disney’s Direct-to-Consumer & International business also includes Hulu and ESPN Plus
2.Disney quarters run one quarter ahead, so Q1 2019 is Q4 2018 in reality
3.Disney Plus launched in this quarter

Disney’s Direct-to-Consumer & International operating income
Q1 2019($136 million)4
Q2 2019($385 million)
Q4 2019($740 million)
FY 2019($1.8 billion)
Q1 2020($693 million)
Q2 2020($812 million)

4.parentheses indicate loss

Disney Plus ARPU (monthly)
Q1 2020$5.56


Total Disney Revenue
Q1 2019$15.3 billion
Q2 2019$14.9 billion
Q4 2019$19.1 billion
FY 2019$69.6 billion
Q1 2020$20.9 billion
Q2 2020$18 billion

Source: Disney

Other key Disney Plus stats

  • The Disney Plus content library contains 7,500 TV episodes and 500 films (Variety)
  • Disney Plus was launched in the US, Canada, and the Netherlands on 12 November 2019; Australia and New Zealand on 19 November 2019; and across several European nations and in India (through rebranding its Hotstar service) in March/April 2020, with more to follow in 2020 (Disney, CNET)
  • Disney Plus seventh-placed app in terms of consumer spending (mobile only) over Q1 2020 (App Annie via Variety)
  • European spending accounted for 33% of Disney Plus mobile revenue in month following March 24 2020 launch
  • Disney Plus the most-downloaded app in the US in Q4 2019 (Sensor Tower via TechCrunch)
  • Disney’s The Mandalorian ended Stranger Things’ 21 week run as the world’s most in-demand show in late November 2019, before being overtaken by The Witcher a month later (Business Insider)
  • The Mandalorian also a hit in Europe, with 33 million demand expressions in first week (Parrot Analytics via Deadline)
  • Disney expects to invest $1 billion in content over 2020, rising to $2.4 billion by 2024 (Variety)
  • Disney market cap at $193.8 billion, 30 April 2020 (YCharts)
  • Disney share price at ~$107.60, 30 April 2020 (NYSE: DIS)
  • Disney market cap reached a record high of $273.32 in November 2019, with shares closing at $151.64 (YCharts, Macrotrends)

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