Disney+ Has Raked In Over 25 Million Subscribers Since Launching Last Fall, But Will They Stick Around?

Later today, The Walt Disney Company will hold one of their regular earnings calls with shareholders to show how the company has been performing over the last quarter. But we already know one of the encouraging pieces of information they'll be revealing: the number of subscribers to their new streaming service, Disney+.

Disney is expected to announced that somewhere between 25 million and 30 million subscribers have signed up for Disney+ since launching in November last year (the investors call revealed that 28.6 million had signed up as of February 4). That's a staggering achievement in such a short window, and a big part of their success is the result of a cross-promotion with Verizon that worked much better than Apple's own deal for free Apple TV+ subscriptions. Find out more about Disney+ subscriber numbers below.

Unlike the Apple TV+ subscriptions that were doled out with newly purchased Apple products and have barely been redeemed by 10% of eligible customers, Disney+ subscriptions saw a noticeable contribution come from a cross-promotion with Verizon that gave a one-year subscription to customers who paid for unlimited data plans. According to Variety, as much as one-third of the Disney+ subscriber base came from that Verizon deal. In fact, it even drove more customers to Verizon with the tech company saying they landed more wireless subscribers in the fourth quarter of 2019 than expected, and CFO Matt Ellis said the Disney+ deal was largely the reason for that increase.

Michael Nathanson, an entertainment analyst and principal at the research firm MoffettNathanson, told Variety:

"From zero to where they are now is unbelievable. The company should bask in the glow of what they've pulled off. They didn't play it safe. But they did the right thing for the company."

However, amidst the celebration that The Walt Disney Company is surely having, one has to wonder whether they can hold on to their large subscriber base when they're not adding nearly as much new content to the service as places like Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime. Their library is not nearly as plentiful, and they're not churning out originals as quickly either. That's to be expected since Disney+ is still in its infancy and the other streamers have been around for years, but how many subscribers who came from Verizon will stick around once their initial one-year subscription runs out? Sure, the annual pricetag of $69.99 is still cheaper than all the other streaming services, but unless the library grows significantly over the next year, we could see a decline in Disney+ subscriber numbers once the sheen has worn off.

This is something that Disney+ seems keenly aware of, which is probably why they wasted no time greenlighting the second season of The Mandalorian , easily their most successful original series so far, for release this fall. Plus, they've got two live-action Marvel Studios shows (The Falcon and the Winter Soldier and WandaVision) hitting the service before the end of the year, and plenty more original movies and shows left to be announced. That combined with access to Disney's library of modern and classic animated features and family films just might be enough for families to stay connected to the service. After all, even if the library is limited, kids love to watch things over and over again, so that $6.99 monthly subscription cost to avoid going insane at home is well worth it. You might have "Let It Go" from Frozen stuck in your head more often than you'd like, but that's just the price you have to pay.