Updated Projections Delay Disney+ Passing Netflix Sub Count to 2027

What a difference 90 days makes. Disney+, the SVOD considered most-likely to challenge market behemoth Netflix, is now putting the brakes on that hype. Disney+ is still poised to pass market leader Netflix by 2027 — two years later than originally projected, according to new data from Digital TV Research.

The U.K.-based firm says the five major U.S.-based streaming platforms (which include Hulu, Amazon Prime Video and HBO Max) will control 53% of the world’s 1.7 billion SVOD subscriptions by 2026. That equates to a collective 910 million subscriptions, up 55% from 585 million subs this year. Netflix will remain the largest player, adding 53 million subs to reach 275 million by 2026.

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“Our previous forecasts based on June 2021 results estimated that Disney+ would overtake Netflix in 2025,” analyst Simon Murray said in a statement. “Based on the September 2021 results, we now expect that this will happen in 2027.”

Disney+ will remain the biggest sub driver, adding 140 million subs through 2026, to up its total to 271 million. About 102 million Disney+ subscribers (38% of the total) in 2026 will be in 13 Asian countries under the Hotstar brand Disney acquired through the 2019 Fox assets transaction.

“Disney+ only started in six new countries during 2021,” Murray said. “Delayed from 2021, the Eastern Europe launches will take place in 2022. This is likely to push back the remaining Asian launches to 2023.”

Separately, HBO Max is projected to have 83 million subs by 2026, up from 29 million by the end of this year. Future launches include territories where it has pay-TV operations: Eastern Europe in 2022 and the rest of Asia (probably in 2023).

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