“We had a strong first quarter, highlighted by the launch of Disney+, which has exceeded even our greatest expectations,” said CEO Bob Iger in a release. Disney also said Hulu jumped from 22.8 million subscribers in 2018 to 30.4 million by the end of 2019. ESPN+ also grew, from 1.4 million a year ago to 6.6 million at the end of 2019. Both services are included in a $13-per-month Disney+ bundle.
For comparison, Netflix has 167 million paid subscribers worldwide, including 61 million in the US. Meanwhile, Apple notably posted its latest quarterly earnings recently as well, but it did not reveal how many Apple TV+ subscribers it added during the last 90-day period.
Analysts had expected Disney+ to add 20 million subscribers by the end of 2020, so it's unexpected subscriber growth not only helped Disney beat the forecasts but also its earnings. The company reported $28.6 billion in revenue, above what was expected. The company’s first-quarter results also included an increase of $2.5 billion at the box office. The studio division’s reported revenue of $3.8 billion.
Disney indicated it expects Disney+ to pick up millions of more subscribers (and therefore generate more revenue) in the coming months, mostly because it will launch in additional global markets. Disney+ is currently only available in Canada, the Netherlands, Australia, and New Zealand.