Disney had a quarterly earnings call on Thursday, and one of the notes coming out of it regarded ESPN+. Notably, subscriptions to ESPN+ increased to 12.1 million, up from 10.3 million on November’s call.
?NEW: $DIS earnings are out. Here are the latest streaming service subscriber numbers (in millions):
— Disney+: 94.9
— ESPN+: 12.1
— Hulu SVOD: 35.4
— Hulu SVOD+Live: 4
Disney total paid subscribers: 146 million
— Sara Fischer (@sarafischer) February 11, 2021
A year ago, ESPN+ had 7.6 million subscribers.
However, “the bundle” (Disney’s combination of Disney+, ESPN+, and Hulu for one fee) had a lot to do with those increases over the last 12 months.
During that update last year, Disney+ had “only” 26.5 million subscribers and the non-Live version of Hulu had 27.5 million. So while Disney+ added nearly 70 million subscribers, Hulu added just shy of eight million, and ESPN+ added 4.5 million. There are a whole bunch of people out there paying for Hulu and not ESPN+, and many, many more paying for Disney+ but not going full bundle.
One reason for the large disparity is because of the availability of the three streaming services. The massive Disney+ number includes subscribers to India’s Hotstar, owned by Disney. Axios noted in November that the Hotstar subscriptions represented about 30% of the total Disney+ subs. In addition to the Indian subs, Disney+ is available in much of North America, South America, and Europe. Hulu is only available in the US and Japan (through a licensing agreement with Nippon TV), and ESPN+ is US-exclusive at this point.
So naturally, the subs for ESPN+ are lower than Disney’s other streaming services. It’s catering to a smaller overall market. Regardless of that, the more than 50% increase in subscriptions over the course of one year, and an increase of nearly 20% in one quarter, is stunning and something that Disney will be thrilled with.