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Disney Says It Now Has 54.5 Million Disney+ Subscribers

The strong early reception of Disney+ was one of the few silver linings in Disney's earnings report.

In a challenging period for Disney's overall business, the company's direct-to-consumer segment is humming along. 

The company announced on its March quarter shareholder call that the service had 54.5 million subscribers as of May 4. Disney  (DIS) - Get Walt Disney Company Report shares were down more than 2% in after hours trading on Tuesday after its earnings release revealed a far-reaching financial impact from the coronavirus pandemic, particularly on its theme park business.

Disney announced in early April that, thanks in part to a strong launch in western Europe, Disney+ had accumulated 50 million paid subscribers. The updated figure puts Disney+ within striking distance of its long-term target of between 60 million and 90 million paid subscribers by 2024. Rival Netflix  (NFLX) - Get Netflix, Inc. (NFLX) Report announced it had added close to 16 million global subscribers in the first quarter, bringing its total subscriber base to 182 million.

Disney+ first launched in the U.S. November 2019, and has since launched in western Europe and in India. The service will roll out in Japan in June, followed by the Nordic countries, Luxembourg and Belgium in September and Latin America in "towards the end of the year," the company said.

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"The response to Disney+ in particular has exceeded even our highest expectations," said Disney CEO Bob Chapek, who was appointed earlier this year, on Disney's call with shareholders. 

The company also estimated that Hulu, another leg in its direct-to-consumer businesses along with Indian streaming service Hotstar and ESPN+, had 32 million total subscriptions at end of its fiscal second quarter.

Overall, Disney reported fiscal second-quarter earnings of 60 cents per share, a 63% decrease from the year prior, on revenue of $18.01 billion. Analysts were expecting the company to report earnings of 88 cents per share on revenue of $17.81 billion. 

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