Disney Plus defeats Netflix for first time ahead of price hike and ads

Cameron Frew
Disney Plus

Disney Plus has dethroned Netflix for the first time in the streaming race, coming ahead of a price hike and the addition of ads.

Once upon a time, streaming movies was considered a novelty. WiFi was relatively primitive compared to the widespread super-fast speeds available now, so for the most part, folks were struck by the dreaded buffering.

With the death of Blockbuster, Netflix rose like a phoenix from the ashes, dominating the streaming industry and becoming the market leader throughout the 2010s. It directly inspired other platforms, such as Prime Video, Hulu, HBO Max, Paramount+, and from the House of Mouse, Disney+.

Disney+ swaggered in with an insane collection of IP: Marvel, Star Wars, National Geographic, The Simpsons, and its own funhouse of classic cartoons, from Snow White to Moana. Now, the company has taken the top spot for the first time – and it’s bringing in ads.

Disney Plus beats Netflix for the first time

Walt Disney’s direct-to-consumer consumers, including those who pay for Disney+, have now amounted to 221.1 million, as per figures from the company’s fiscal third quarter, reported by Deadline.

Broken down, this includes 152 million subscribers for Disney+, 22.8 million for ESPN+, and 46.2 million for Hulu.

It’s a momentous victory for Disney+: not only is it the first time it’s won over Netflix in the streaming race, but Netflix has never been beaten when it comes to total subscribers.

Netflix’s subscriber count stands at 220.67 million, coming after the loss of one million subscribers in its second quarter. The company warned investors it could have been as high as two million, so it’s considered a win – or perhaps more accurately, a slight relief.

Disney Plus is getting ads, unless you pay more money

From December 8 this year, Disney will be offering an ad-supported tier to its subscribers, which will be the cheaper option. It will cost $7.99 per month in the United States.

However, if you don’t want to put up with ads, you’ll need to upgrade to Premium, with a price hike to $10.99 per month.

This also includes subscription bundles, so the package with Disney+ and Hulu will cost $9.99 with ads, while Disney+, Hulu, and ESPN+ together will cost $12.99.

In a statement, Disney Media and Entertainment Distribution chairman Kareem Daniel said: “With our new ad-supported Disney+ offering and an expanded lineup of plans across our entire streaming portfolio, we will be providing greater consumer choice at a variety of price points to cater to the diverse needs of our viewers.”