Walt Disney Co.’s Disney+ platform has 86.8 million subscribers, the company said during its annual investor day on Thursday. Shares were up as much as 3% on the news in after-hours trade.
“Disney+ has exceeded our wildest expectations,” said Disney Chief Executive Officer Bob Chapek. “All or our content will eventually end up in Disney+,” he said.
The company also reported that as of last week, it has almost 39 million Hulu subscribers and more than 11 million ESPN+ subscribers.
Disney+ will launch in Eastern Europe, South Korea and Hong Kong in 2021, and the platform’s earlier launch in Latin America was strong, the company said. Disney executives said it has made a deal with Comcast (CMSCA) to put Disney+ on its cable platforms.
Disney reportedly has been planning to move its cinematic releases to Disney+ instead of debuting in theaters as Covid-19 cases rise. The company also has been focusing on the direct-to-consumer approach as it continues to build up Disney+.
Growth for Disney+ has been attributed to the “Star Wars” spinoff series “The Mandalorian” and the Disney+ release of “Mulan.”
The company also said it’s seen strong growth in subscriptions to its ESPN+ service. The company said subscriptions have tripled in the past year and are above the middle of guidance for 2024. Viewers watched 5 billion minutes of sports content in the last year, the company said.
Last month, Disney reported fourth-quarter results that topped analyst expectations, showing strong growth in its streaming businesses.
CNBC reported Thursday that Disney has secured a deal with the SEC to add the Southeastern Conference to ESPN+ starting with the 2024 season. ABC will become the home for Saturday afternoon games in 2024. The platform has also given Steve A. Smith his own ESPN+ show and is bringing back “Peyton’s Places” for a second season.