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Can Disney+ Attract Over 200 Million Subscribers by 2025?

By Danny Vena – Updated May 18, 2020 at 12:32PM

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After a headline-grabbing launch, Disney's streaming service continues to gain converts.

Walt Disney's (DIS -3.20%) nascent streaming service, Disney+, only debuted in November, and is already taking the streaming world by storm. Expectations are ratcheting higher as the platform continues to attract bullish investor sentiment. Disney+ will accumulate 202 million subscribers by 2025, according to estimates by Digital TV Research analyst Simon Murray. 

If his projections are accurate, that will place Disney+ behind just Netflix (NFLX -1.78%), which he estimates will attract 258 million subscribers, and ahead of Amazon (AMZN -1.57%) Prime Video, with 141 million.

Disney+ home screen featuring "The Mandalorian" on a connected TV.

Image source: Disney.

Murray announced he has "completely revised" his expectations as the result of the COVID-19 pandemic, saying, "A major impact of [the] lockdown has been a steep rise in [subscription video on demand] subscriptions." Digital TV Research had already boosted its outlook in February, forecasting that Disney+ would accumulate 126 million subscribers by 2025, up from its initial estimate of 101 million which coincided with the Disney+ launch in November. 

Original programming including The Mandalorian -- which has received rave reviews from critics and fans alike -- along with its low subscription cost of $6.99 per month, has helped jump-start demand for Disney+.

The day after its highly anticipated launch, Disney announced the platform had already reached a major milestone, topping 10 million subscribers -- a precursor of the surge in interest to come. During the company's second-quarter earnings conference call, CFO Christine McCarthy said that as of May 4, that number had grown 54.5 million subscribers, coming less than six months after the service debuted.

With these totals, the House of Mouse has already blown past its own internal projections. During Disney's investor day in April 2019, the company forecast a total of between 60 million and 90 million subscribers by fiscal 2024. 

At this rate, 200 million subscribers doesn't seem out of reach.

John Mackey, CEO of Whole Foods Market, an Amazon subsidiary, is a member of The Motley Fool's board of directors. Danny Vena owns shares of Amazon, Netflix, and Walt Disney and has the following options: long January 2021 $85 calls on Walt Disney. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends Amazon, Netflix, and Walt Disney and recommends the following options: long January 2021 $60 calls on Walt Disney, short January 2022 $1940 calls on Amazon, long January 2022 $1920 calls on Amazon, and short July 2020 $115 calls on Walt Disney. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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