On Friday, The Walt Disney Company (DIS) shares soared 13.6 percent on Wall Street, finishing at a fresh record high of $175.72, a day after an investors’ virtual day that delighted investors. For its streaming video services, like Disney+, which was released just over a year ago, the U.S. entertainment giant has announced remarkable figures and goals.
Although the other operations of Walt Disney (theme parks, cruises, etc.) experienced the throes of the health crisis, resulting in heavy losses and 32,000 job cuts in the quarter ended September, streaming has largely benefited from containment steps taken to tackle the pandemic of coronavirus.
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As a result, as of December 2, Disney+ added 86.8 million subscribers, up from just over 73 million at the end of the fourth fiscal quarter ended October 3. All of the company’s streaming platforms including Disney+, Hulu and ESPN now have nearly 137 million subscribers in total.
The company is now targeting 350 million combined customers for these platforms and 260 million Disney+ customers by the end of fiscal 2024 which is equal to tripling its initial expectations in the fall of 2019 when it set a target of has 80 to 90 million subscribers for Disney+.
The group is also preparing to expand its investment in the provision of content for these streaming services, which is projected to hit between $14 and $16 billion in fiscal 2024.
Comparatively, the Disney+’s arch rival and the world’s largest streaming network Netflix currently has 195 million subscribers worldwide and invested $15 billion last year on content, 13 years after the group’s inception. In terms of investment projects and the number of subscribers, the other streaming players including Peacock of Comcast, HBO Max of ATT, Apple, Paramount of ViacomCBS, etc are well behind the two giants, Disney+ and Netflix.
On Thursday, Walt Disney also impressed investors by announcing plans to create hundreds of new programs and films for all its media and franchises, including franchises such as Disney+, Star Wars, Marvel, National Geographic, and Pixar. Projects that will either be rejected explicitly on Disney+ or that after the Covid crisis has ended will be released in the cinema.
Building on Disney+’s popularity, the company revealed on Thursday that the Disney+ subscription price in the United States will be increased by $1 to $7.99 a month from March 2021.
Moreover, in Europe, from February 23, 2021, a Disney+ subscription will be priced at 8.99 euros per month, instead of 6.99 euros. This price rise will be followed by new content named STAR and a segment called ‘adult’. However subscribers who have arrived before 23 February 2021 will be able to retain their subscription for an additional 6 months at 6.99 euros per month.