Shares of Walt Disney (NYSE:DIS) surged on Friday, following the entertainment titan's investor day presentation late on Thursday. As of 1:15 p.m. EST, Disney's stock was up more than 14%.
Disney announced that its massively popular streaming service, Disney+, now has more than 86 million subscribers. That's about as many subscribers as the company hoped to obtain by fiscal 2024. Management previously set a five-year target of 60 million to 90 million subscribers when the service launched in 2019.
People are flocking to Disney's new streaming service during the coronavirus pandemic as they seek out safer -- and often cheaper -- home-based entertainment options. The media giant, in turn, now expects to achieve as many as 260 million Disney+ subscribers by 2024. For context, Netflix ended the third quarter with 195 million global subscribers.
Disney+ is a game-changer. Streaming has long been seen as a threat to Disney's empire, one that was poised to wrestle away its valuable cable customers year after year. But with Disney+, the entertainment titan has emerged as a formidable force in the streaming arena. Rather than a threat, streaming is now a powerful growth driver for Disney -- one that should help push its stock to more highs in the years ahead.