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Disney Plus hasn’t added many new U.S. subscribers in 2021, says report

Despite breakout hits such as ‘The Mandalorian’ and ‘WandaVision,’ Disney’s streaming service has apparently flatlined in North America.

Disney Plus hasn’t added many new U.S. subscribers in 2021, says report
[Photo: Disney]
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Disney Plus’s subscriber growth in North America appears to have plateaued. According to internal data obtained by The Information, Disney’s streaming service hit 110 million subscribers total in July with 38 million in North America, which is up only about 1 million more than compared with six months ago. In that same time frame, however, the service added more than 12 million new subscribers in India, making it now Disney Plus’s biggest market.

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A Disney spokesperson stated The Information‘s analysis contained “factual inaccuracies and does not reflect the performance of the service” but apparently declined to provide any further information.

If true, Disney Plus’s slowing growth in North America signals a few problems for the company.

Although Disney aspires to be a global service and India is a strategic market, Disney Plus in India costs approximately 45 cents per month compared with $8 in the United States. The Information also correlates Disney Plus flatlining to its $1 price hike in March, which had been expected to be just the first price hike as the service grows.

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There is also the question of the quantity of original content North American subscribers receive for that cost. Since its inception in November 2019, Disney Plus has largely subsisted on library content. The streaming service has had breakaway original hits such as The Mandalorian and its string of Marvel shows including WandaVision, The Falcon and The Winter Soldier, and Loki. But beyond those marquee titles, the volume and relative quality of new film and TV releases hardly compares to that of Netflix or HBO Max.

Disney has said that it expects its streaming service will hit 230 million to 260 million subscribers by 2024. It’s not out of the realm of possibility. But it might need to come from a stronger international strategy (lest numbers go flat abroad as well) and a more consistent roster of original releases.

About the author

KC covers entertainment and pop culture for Fast Company. Previously, KC was part of the Emmy Award-winning team at "Good Morning America," where he was the social media producer.

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