According to a new report released Monday by Digital TV Research, Disney+ is well on its way to becoming the foremost streaming service, surpassing Netflix in subscribers by 2026. While Netflix currently boasts 286 million subscribers worldwide, making it the most popular service, the Digital TV Research analysts estimate that Disney+ could reach 294 million by 2026.
Despite potentially overtaking Netflix in total subscribers, the streaming service is only expected to be the top in one country — India — which is expected to have 98 million Disney+ Hotstar subscribers versus 13 million for Netflix. Simon Murray, Digital TV Research’s principal analyst, explains that with Disney+ Hotstar rolling out to 13 Asian countries by 2026, those countries will supply 108 million subscribers (37%) of the global Disney+ subscriber base, but only 13% ($2.62 billion) of the platform's revenues by 2026, as Hotsrar subscribers pay "less than a third of the monthly subscription fee of their U.S. counterpart."
Breaking that math down, Disney's 294 million subscribers would potentially bring in $20.76 billion in revenue, which would still be a little more than half of Netflix's $39.52 billion global revenue, boosted by higher subscription fees.
Last week, Disney announced its quarterly earnings call that Disney+ had already reached 94.9 million subscribers, almost 1 million more than their previous projections for 2024. Disney revealed that it was now aiming for 230 million to 260 million subscribers by 2024 in a more current goal adjustment. The streaming service may well reach that goal, as it has plans to release this year The Falcon and the Winter Soldier and Raya and the Last Dragon, Loki, What If… ?, The Bad Batch, Hawkeye, Ms. Marvel, Monsters At Work.
"We believe the strategic actions we’re taking to transform our Company will fuel our growth and enhance shareholder value, as demonstrated by the incredible strides we’ve made in our DTC business, reaching more than 146 million total paid subscriptions across our streaming services at the end of the quarter," Bob Chapek, Chief Executive Officer of The Walt Disney Company, said in a press release. "We’re confident that, with our robust pipeline of exceptional, high-quality content and the upcoming launch of our new Starbranded international general entertainment offering, we are well-positioned to achieve even greater success going forward."