Disney+ reaches 50 million subscribers within 5 months

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Disney+ surpassed 50 million paid subscribers worldwide, five months after the streaming service launched in the U.S., the company announced Wednesday.

Disney last disclosed a subscriber count of 28 million just two months ago during a February earnings call, but the platform, which serves up classic animated films and new original programming like the Star Wars series The Mandalorian, has benefited from a recent international rollout.

Over the past two weeks Disney+ launched in eight Western European countries, including the U.K., and India, where it is offered as part of the popular over-the-top streaming service Hotstar. That package accounts for 8 million of Disney+’s 50 million subscribers, the company said.

“We’re truly humbled that Disney+ is resonating with millions around the globe, and believe this bodes well for our continued expansion throughout Western Europe and into Japan and all of Latin America later this year,” said Kevin Mayer, chairman of Disney’s direct-to-consumer division, in a statement.

In comparison, Netflix cracked 50 million subscribers in 2014, seven years after the company launched its online streaming effort and one year after the debut of its first original series, House of Cards. Today Netflix has 167 million global subscribers, that company said in January, with a similar emphasis on international expansion as U.S. subscriber growth slows. Hulu, founded in 2007 and now under majority control by Disney, reached 30 million subscribers in the U.S., Disney announced in its February investors call. Disney plans to rollout Hulu internationally in 2021.

Analysts expect the company to bundle Disney+ with Hulu, as it does in the U.S. market, once the service launches in other countries. “It will allow them to further, deeply integrate across different markets,” explains Dan Rayburn, a Frost & Sullivan analyst focused on digital video and streaming.

Furthermore, Disney could see its international growth aided by its cast of globally recognized characters and intellectual property, says Michael Pachtner, a Wedbush Securities analyst specialized in digital media.

“Disney has a gigantic advantage [because] it’s so good at making content,” Pachter tells Fortune. “It has a really deep library with the likes of Marvel, Pixar, and Lucasfilm.”

More must-read stories from Fortune:

—How Jeffrey Katzenberg feels about launching Quibi during a pandemic
—Why AT&T chose Hulu’s Jason Kilar as WarnerMedia CEO
Jesse Eisenberg weighs in on World War II biopic ‘Resistance’
—How musicians are upending the substance abuse narrative
How the Emmy awards are reacting to a global pandemic

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