Disney’s streaming empire is made up of three pillars – Disney+, Hulu and ESPN+. Sports streamer ESPN+ launched in April 2018 while Disney took full control of Hulu in May 2019 and launched flagship service Disney+ in November 2019. Despite currently only being available in five countries, Disney said the latter saw “extraordinary consumer demand” and more than 10 million sign ups within its first 24 hours.
These initial successes have now been reflected by a new Barclays estimate of Disney’s total enterprise value, which the bank estimated at around US$320bn, with its core business (such as parks, movie studios and TV networks) making up the majority (US$213 billion). This means that Disney’s direct-to-consumer streaming businesses are worth around $107 billion.
An investor’s note from Barclays said: “Just six weeks into launch, Disney is already pricing in a streaming business worth US$108 billion, 69% of Netflix’s enterprise value which has taken 13 years to get here.”
Barclays also said that Disney may look to additional distribution deals in order to keep the momentum going. The company has already signed distribution deals with Verizon in the US and Canal+ in France, and a potential deal with Sky – with which it has had a fruitful decades-long relationship – would not be impossible to secure.
Elsewhere, it has been estimated by Bernie McTernan, an analyst at Rosneblatt Securities, that Disney+ will reach 25 million subscribers by the end of the first quarter. This figure is perhaps buoyed by the wider European launch of the service on March 31. Disney itself has set an annual target of 60-90 million subscribers.
This news caps off an incredibly successful year for Disney, which also showed its dominance at the box office with hit films such as Avengers Endgame, Aladdin, Frozen II and Captain Marvel contributing to a total haul of US$4.3 billion.