Disney Plus jumps to 137.7 million members after Netflix subscriber skid

Disney Plus has grown to 137.7 million subscribers as of April 2, Disney announced Wednesday. This is a 33% increase over the previous year, but more importantly, it shows Disney+ subscriber growth held up relatively well in its latest quarter – climbing 7.9 million from the previous three months – shortly after global leader Netflix shocked Hollywood with its first drop in membership in a decade.

Netflix, the world’s largest subscription video service, has amassed 221 million subscribers, but last month reported that its subscriber count had fallen by 200,000 accounts in the first three months of this year. – the company’s first overall drop in subscriber numbers since the days when DVD-by-mail was still a major part of its business. Netflix’s decline and its expectation of losing even more members before the middle of the year have shaken Hollywood’s faith in streaming as the path to a sustainable future.

Disney Plus’s latest net increase of 7.9 million subscribers over the past period is quieter than the previous’s jump of 11.7 million, but it’s still stronger than the 2.1 million additions from the previous quarter. Disney also noted that Hulu subscribers increased to 45.6 million and ESPN Plus membership increased to 22.3 million.

Until last month, Netflix’s years of relentless growth prompted nearly every major Hollywood media company to funnel billions into their own streaming operations. These so-called continuous wars caused a wave of new services, including Apple TV Plus, HBO Max, Peacock, Paramount More and, of course, Disney Plus.

This dive into streaming has profound implications for Hollywood’s future, but it has complicated the number of services people have to use — and pay for — to watch their favorite shows and movies online.

From the start, Disney Plus proved to be the smash hit of the so-called streaming wars. Disney Plus’s growth has outpaced that of all new competitors, with one media analyst calling Disney Plus “one of the biggest product launches of all time.”

Disney has projected that Disney Plus will have between 230 million and 260 million subscribers worldwide by the service’s five-year age at the end of 2024.

Not all Disney Plus subscribers are created equal. In Europe and India, Disney Plus is bundled as part of a larger streaming offering. And in countries like India, the price of a subscription is a fraction of what it costs in other markets around the world.

Correction, 2:58 p.m. PT: The original version of this story reported an incorrect percentage increase in Disney Plus subscribers from the previous year. The increase was 33%.

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