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Report: Disney+ Added Just 1 Million New Subscribers in U.S. and Canada This Quarter

Michael King, Ben Bowman

Is trouble brewing in the Magic Kingdom? Domestic subscriber growth at Disney+ has slowed down dramatically over the past few months, according to a report from The Information, citing internal Disney sources.

Disney+ added just over 6 million accounts to top 110 million subscribers during Disney’s third fiscal quarter - which ran through early July. Subscriptions from the U.S. and Canada have allegedly increased by just one million since the start of February. The report says most of today’s growth comes from India and South America.

India leads the way

The most recent Disney+ total includes nearly 38 million subscribers from India — up 12 million over the past six months. According to The Information, India is now the largest individual country for Disney+ subscribers. The nation accounts for more than a third of the service’s total subscriber base.

One major point leading to India’s growth is that many subscribers there pay the equivalent of 45 cents a month for Disney+, compared to $8 a month in more developed markets like the United States. This means that subscriber growth may continue overseas, but without much additional revenue. A Disney spokesperson disputed some of this reporting without pointing to specific inaccuracies.

Disney also took over India’s Hotstar platform as part of its Fox acquisition in 2019. In early 2020, 7 million existing Hotstar subscribers were rolled into Disney+.

Mouse Trap?

It may be even harder for Disney+ to reach its goals if it can’t fire up subscriptions in North America. During the pandemic, when most people were stuck at home, the only real explosion in sign-ups for Disney+ in the United States came from the release of “Hamilton,” according to industry analytics from Antenna.

And many of those who signed up to watch “Hamilton” bailed out of their subscriptions, opting to leave after their first month was up.

Disney+

Disney+ is an ad-free video streaming service that offers exclusive series and films from Disney, Pixar, Marvel, Star Wars, National Geographic, The Muppets, and more.

The Disney streaming service costs $7.99 / month, or $79.99 / year ($6.67 / month). You can bundle it with Hulu and ESPN+ for just $13.99 a month (cheaper than Netflix).

The app supports unlimited downloads, four simultaneous streamers, up to 7 profiles, 4K streaming, and includes hundreds of avatars.

The service includes 25+ new original series, 10+ original movies, 7,500 past episodes, 100 recent movies, and 400 library titles including the entire Disney Vault. You can stream original series like “The Mandalorian”, “Falcon and the Winter Soldier”, “Loki”, and “Monsters at Work.”

You can see the full list of available Disney, Disney Channel, Star Wars, Pixar, Marvel, Nat Geo shows and movies, or all available Disney Plus content by checking out our Disney+ Streaming Movie List.

Sign Up

Get Disney+, Hulu, and ESPN+ for just $13.99 a month ($7 savings).

In an attempt to capitalize on new releases, Disney rolled out the concept of Premier Access: a one-time $30 fee on top of the subscription. Users who pay for Premier Access get to see a specific Disney film on Disney+ on the same day it arrives in theaters.

While the concept provided a moderate boost for the 2020 release of “Mulan,” later titles have not fared as well.

For example, when “Raya and the Last Dragon” came to Premier Access, it was watched for 355 million minutes in its first weekend and 390 million minutes in its first full week on the service. “Raya” also struggled at the box office, taking in $8.6 million domestically in March.

After becoming available as a free title on Disney+ following its Premier Access window in early June, the number of viewers skyrocketed — with U.S. viewers logging 1.08 billion minutes watching the movie the weekend of June 4-6, according to data from Nielsen.

If the Premier Access strategy doesn’t help Disney squeeze more money from its subscribers, the company may ditch it entirely next year.

The fate of the feature may depend on the Premier Access performance of two long-awaited big-ticket movies: Marvel’s “Black Widow,” and “Jungle Cruise.”

Be Our Guest

If you need a sign that Disney is perhaps a bit worried about hitting its targets, look no further than a sudden rush of Disney+ deals. Right now, they’re offering a six-month membership tied to memberships of Amazon Music Unlimited. If the discounts continue, it could hint at trouble.

We should note Disney+ is not the only subscription service seeing slower growth at this point. Netflix reported that their 2021 first-quarter numbers ran short of targets. Much of this could be attributed to a “pull-forward” of subscribers because of the pandemic.

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