The Walt Disney Company announced last month that they will be changing the structuring of their business with more of an emphasis on their streaming service Disney+ effective immediately.
The major pivot was a direct result of pandemic and the effects which have been a major topic in California as Gov. Gavin Newsom has been adamant about when Disneyland and California Adventure would be able to open.
The closure and limitations put on the movie theaters have also hit Disney hard, backing up the release of many of its upcoming films such as Marvel’s Black Widow, The Eternals, and many more.
“The global reach of our full portfolio of direct-to-consumer services now exceeds an astounding 100 million paid subscriptions — a significant milestone and a reaffirmation of our [direct-to-consumer] strategy, which we view as key to the future growth of our company,” CEO Bob Chapek said, in a CNET article.
In August, Disney added the Broadway musical Hamilton and Beyonce’s Black is King to its service which sparked a wave of new subscribers. The release of the live-action remake of Mulan, which was supposed to be released in March, also created momentum for the streaming service.
Disney also released Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker, Frozen 2, and Pixar’s Onward ahead of schedule at the start of the pandemic.
One top investor for Disney, Dan Loeb, has recently urged the company to skip the theatrical releases they had planned for 2021 and to add them to the current offerings on Disney+.
“What Netflix has is this immense subscriber base that allows it to invest in an enormous amount of content and amortize that to get more subscribers. Disney isn’t there yet, but they need to get there as quickly as possible,” said Loeb according to insidethemagic.com.
Netflix has been a top competitor in the streaming service industry and has more than 192 million subscribers worldwide.
“If they don’t get critical mass in their subscriber base, they will be permanently disadvantaged versus Netflix,” Loeb said.
Disney reported in August that they had surpassed 100 million subscribers across all streaming platforms which include Disney+, Hulu, and ESPN+. More than half of the subscriptions reported are for Disney+ which has more than 60.5 million paid subscribers, four years ahead of their goal of 60 to 90 million subscriptions by 2024.
Along with other streaming services like Prime Video, Apple TV+, and HBO Max, the competition to add subscriptions has increased as more movies skip theatrical releases.
“We’ve benefited from a tremendous relationship with a theatrical exhibition for many, many, many years,” Chapek said in an interview for intothemagic.com. “As dynamics change in the marketplace, though, we want to make sure we’re giving consumers, who want to go to theaters to experience everything that a theatrical release can give them, we want to continue to give them that option.”
Disney Plus is offered for $6.99 monthly, $69.99 for a yearly commitment and as a bundle with ESPN+ and Hulu for $12.99.