Analysts Estimate Disney+ Subscribers to Reach Over 25 Million By End of First Quarter


Disney+ might hit 25 million subscribers by the end of the first quarter.

It seems like even with subscribers leaving over the end of The Mandalorian Season 1, analysts feel that Disney+ will reach 25 million subscribers by the end of January.

According to Rosenblatt Securities analyst Bernie McTernan they believe the number will be closer to 25 million subscribers by the end of the first quarter, up from the original 21 million subscriber estimate, citing brand awareness by consumers as a reason for the increase.

Of course Disney has said it will not disclose numbers until the First Quarter investment call in February.

What is Disney doing to boost subscribers in 2020?

We did learn via a Disney+ 2020 teaser video that they have already moved WandaVision up from a 2021 release date to a 2020 release date.  I think Disney is positioning more original content for the coming year after the success of The Mandalorian.  Later this year we are getting The Mandalorian Season 2, more Clone Wars and Marvel’s The Falcon and The Winter Soldier too.

But how many of the 25 million are paid subscribers?

One thing we aren’t hearing, and I’m not sure that Disney will actually tell us, is how many subscribers in this “25 million” are actually paid subscribers.

Verizon was giving away Disney+ subscriptions with their “Unlimited Plans” and a few weeks ago Verizon CEO Hans Vestberg  stated that the promotion had already gone beyond what they hoped:

It beat our expectations, even though we had high expectations.” -Vestberg

So clearly there are a number of customers with free subscriptions via Verizon.  How many we don’t know. Maybe Disney will disclose that during the call as well?

How does the Disney+ subscriber count stack up against other streaming services:

Disney+ just launched in November 2019 and already is headed for an estimated 25 million subscribers, but how does it stack up to the competition?

Here is a look at recent numbers posted by CNBC for the main competitors and keep in mind HBOMax, Peacock, and more are coming in 2020.

  • Netflix – 158 million (as of October 2019)
  • Hulu – 28.5 million (as of November 2019–also owned by Disney)
  • HBO–  34 million + 8 million on HBO Now (as of October 2019 and before HBOMax)
  • CrunchyRoll – 2 million (as of November, but it will likely be rolled into HBOMax this year.)
  • Amazon Prime– They do not announce numbers, however there were about 100 million Amazon Prime users (as of January 2019.)
  • CBS All Access – 8 million (as of February 2019, but they have merged with Viacom to create ViacomCBS and there will be a streaming service.)

25 million isn’t too shabby in comparison to the competition. It still has a long way to go to catch up to Netflix, they all do. Personally I think the biggest threats to Netflix are from HBOMax and possibly Disney+.  It will probably come down to perceived value by consumers and original content.

Of course we expect the Disney+ subscription counts to go up as the service launches in Europe on March 31, and in Latin America this October. But it will be interesting to see the numbers at the end of the year, when the majority of free subscriptions are over, but the new markets come in. Will it be a significant increase or will it balance out? Time will tell.

What do you think? Comment and let us know.

Source:, CNBC,

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