September 15, 2020
Disney’s direct-to-consumer streaming video service continues to impress analysts. New data from eMarketer suggests the $6.99 monthly platform will have 72.4 million viewers in the United States by the end of the year — representing 32.1% of the country’s SVOD viewership.
Disney+ is projected to have annual double-digit viewership growth through 2024, topping sister service Hulu, with 123.4 million viewers compared with 115.6 million for Hulu. Disney+ viewership now dwarfs rival Apple TV+ (18.8 million) — despite launching a week later in 2019.
Disney currently has nearly 35 million domestic subscribers. The eMarketer viewership estimates outpace subscriber totals because multiple viewers can use the same subscription.
In 2020, 225.4 million viewers will use a streaming service at least once per month, up from the 221.9 million viewers previously forecast in Q1. This figure will grow to 237.1 million in 2024. Netflix remains the top subscription streaming service in the U.S., with 168.9 million viewers, followed by Amazon Prime Video at 130.1 million.
“Since its launch, Disney+ has been able to grow quickly by using a low price point and leveraging a vast library of content,” Eric Haggstrom, forecasting analyst at Insider Intelligence, said in a statement. “Bundled offerings with Hulu and ESPN+, as well as distribution deals with Verizon, have enabled it to grow new subscriptions quickly and reduce subscriber churn.”
Haggstrom added that while Disney+ has benefited from lockdowns and stay-at-home orders during the coronavirus pandemic, movie and TV production shutdowns could pose challenges in retaining subscribers looking for new content.
“It will be difficult for Disney+ to continue growing viewership in 2021 with a light batch of new releases,” he said.