Disney+ counts more than 50M paid subscribers

The Mouse's new SVoD service, Disney+, has surpassed 50 million paid subscribers, a gain of more than 21 million since its last announced total on February 3.

The jump in subs comes on the heels of Disney+ launches in several western European countries, including the UK, Ireland, Germany, Italy, Spain and Switzerland, and a recent launch in India in partnership with Disney corporate cousin Hotstar. The rise in Disney service subscriber base comes as millions of consumers across the globe stay at home to help slow the spread of COVID-19, a situation that is also wreaking havoc on Disney's parks and retail businesses. Of note, Disney+ is among a group of OTT services that have temporarily reduced bit rates in Europe to help reduce the stress on networks in the region during the pandemic.

Expansions in Western Europe and India have stoked Disney+'s sub count in recent weeks.
Expansions in Western Europe and India have stoked Disney+'s sub count in recent weeks.

Disney+ debuted in the US on November 12, 2019, ending that day with 10 million subs, a number that included customers that had signed up in the weeks before the service launch.

Disney+ also appears to be keeping customer churn in check despite a chief complaint that, despite an early hit with the first season of The Mandalorian from the Star Wars universe, the streaming service still has little to offer in the way of new, original content. In addition to Star Wars, the SVoD service features TV shows and movies from other Disney properties such as Pixar, Marvel and National Geographic.

On the news, Disney shares were up $7.01 (6.94%) to $108.08 each in after-hours trading Wednesday.

Netflix, meanwhile, continues to hold a significant lead over Disney+ in global market reach and subscribers, ending 2019 with 167.09 million streaming subs worldwide, including 61.04 million in the US.

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— Jeff Baumgartner, Senior Editor, Light Reading

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