March 9, 2021
Disney+, the branded subscription streaming video service launched in late 2019, has topped 100 million paying members, CEO Bob Chapek said at the media giant’s March 9 virtual shareholder meeting. The SVOD service had reported having near 95 million subs in February. By comparison, market leader Netflix ended 2020 with 203 million subscribers.
“The enormous success of Disney+ has inspired us to be even more ambitious, and to significantly increase our investment in the development of high-quality content,” Chapek said. “In fact, we set a target of 100-plus new titles per year, and this includes Disney Animation, Disney Live Action, Marvel, Star Wars and National Geographic. Our direct-to-consumer business is the company’s top priority, and our robust pipeline of content will continue to fuel its growth.”
Separately, Chapek said ESPN+, the sports-themed SVOD service with 12 million subscribers, would be incorporated onto the Hulu platform, enabling subscribers of both services to have easier cross-platform access. The CEO hinted that in the future Hulu subs would be able to access pay-per-view sports events on ESPN+ without a subscription.
Meanwhile, as COVID-19 vaccinations increase nationwide, Chapek said the company’s Orange County, Calif.-based legacy Disneyland and California Adventure theme parks would re-open in April. Both have been shuttered for about a year due to the pandemic.