Disney Plus should have Netflix worried

Marvel and Star Wars help earn Disney Plus eight million more subscribers

Disney Plus and Netflix logos
(Image credit: Disney Plus / Netflix)

Disney Plus has earned itself almost eight million more subscribers during the first three months of 2022, a major accomplishment considering its biggest competitor, Netflix, has struggled throughout the same period.

The new numbers were confirmed via The Walt Disney Company's earnings report (opens in new tab) for its second quarter, where it was confirmed that Disney Plus now boasts 137.37 million subscribers globally. This exceeded the expectations set by Wall Street and was a 33% increase over the previous year. 

A big part of this growth can likely be attributed to Marvel and Star Wars shows like Moon Knight, The Book of Boba Fett and Hawkeye, which are exclusive to the platform. Similarly, Marvel blockbuster Eternals debuted on Disney Plus in January. The subscriber gain is not anticipated to slow with Obi-Wan Kenobi, Ms. Marvel, and Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness all expected to be added over the next couple of months. 

Considering that Disney Plus only launched in November 2019, it's a huge number for a streaming service that's not even been around for three years. It also didn't roll out to the UK until March 2020 with further European countries having to wait until September 2020. 

 “At Disney Plus, while we still expect higher net adds in the second half of the year than in the first half, it’s worth mentioning that we did have a stronger than expected first half of the year,” said The Walt Disney Company chief financial officer Christine McCarthy as part of the earnings call.

Interestingly, it was also noted that Disney missed out on $1 billion in revenue to end numerous content licensing agreements so that it could bring shows and movies it licensed out to other services. This was speculated (via THR (opens in new tab)) to be the Netflix Marvel shows such as Daredevil, Jessica Jones and Luke Cage, which arrived on Disney Plus in March earlier this year. 

Either way, it's a huge rise for Disney Plus, and in the wake of Netflix losing 200,000 subscribers (the first time its subscriber base has dropped in a decade), could this signal an eventual change in the market leader? It's worth noting that Netflix has approximately 222 million subscribers, however, has seen a run of bad news recently with a lawsuit, multiple show cancellations and the aforementioned drop in subscribers.

A Disney Plus subscription is priced at $7.99 / £7.99 / A$11.99 per month, or alternatively, you can take out an annual subscription at $79.99 / £79.90 / A$119.99 per year. A Netflix standard plan, on the other hand, is currently priced at $15.49 / £10.99 / AU$16.99 per month.

To help recuperate money, Netflix is set to introduce an ad-based tier subscription (something Disney Plus is planning to do too), as well as clamp down on password sharing between friends and family.  

Matthew is the Staff Writer for T3, covering news and keeping up with everything games, entertainment, and all manner of tech. You can find his work across numerous sites across the web, including TechRadar, IGN, Tom's Guide, Fandom, NME, and more. In his spare time, Matthew is an avid cinema-goer, keen runner and average golfer (at best). You can follow him @MattForde64