'We Stepped on the Throttle': Disney Plus Invests Big in Shows as Subscriptions Boom

Sam Blake

Sam primarily covers entertainment and media for dot.LA. Previously he was Marjorie Deane Fellow at The Economist, where he wrote for the business and finance sections of the print edition. He has also worked at the XPRIZE Foundation, U.S. Government Accountability Office, KCRW, and MLB Advanced Media (now Disney Streaming Services). He holds an MBA from UCLA Anderson, an MPP from UCLA Luskin and a BA in History from University of Michigan. Email him at samblake@dot.LA and find him on Twitter @hisamblake

'We Stepped on the Throttle': Disney Plus Invests Big in Shows as Subscriptions Boom

Even Disney CEO Bob Chapek is surprised by the success of Disney Plus.

"What we didn't realize was the non-family appeal that a service like Disney Plus would have," Chapek said Monday, speaking at a Morgan Stanley tech conference. "Over 50% of our global [subscribers] don't have kids, and that is the big difference."


In April 2019, Disney forecast it would have 60 to 90 million subscribers by 2024 for the service that launched in November of that year; today it already has over 95 million. The Star Wars and Marvel superheroes universes have complemented Disney's more traditional animated features that are aimed squarely at school-age children.

The company has ratcheted up its 2024 forecast to 150 million Disney Plus subscribers, and to 260 million including its international offering, Star.

Disney Plus' over-performance inspired a "commensurate" rise of investment in content, Chapek said. In December Disney showcased a head-spinning array of new shows and movies set to roll out in the coming months and years.

"We stepped on the throttle pretty heavily," Chapek said.

Disney also undertook a major restructuring to center the organization around streaming.

As streaming ascended, Disney's parks plummeted, shuttered by the pandemic. Once those reopen, Chapek, who previously led the parks division, said he sees huge value in the customer insight that they will bring in conjunction with streaming.

"We've never really had the two perfectly aligned where our parks are cranking and our DTC business is anything but embryonic. Well, that moment's about to come," he said. "And so we feel really enthusiastic about what's going to happen when we take one plus one and make it three."

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This Week in ‘Raises’: Drata Secures $200M, Dantari Lands $47M

Decerry Donato

Decerry Donato is a reporter at dot.LA. Prior to that, she was an editorial fellow at the company. Decerry received her bachelor's degree in literary journalism from the University of California, Irvine. She continues to write stories to inform the community about issues or events that take place in the L.A. area. On the weekends, she can be found hiking in the Angeles National forest or sifting through racks at your local thrift store.

This Week in ‘Raises’: Drata Secures $200M, Dantari Lands $47M
Modified by Joshua Letona

Security and compliance automation platform Drata received new funding to continue investing in research and development (R&D) to build its enterprise grade, automation solution. While biotechnology company Dantari will use its funds to continue developing targeted therapeutics for the treatment of cancers and other diseases.

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LA Tech ‘Moves’: DISQO Taps Salesforce Veteran, NTWRK Appoints VICE Exec

Decerry Donato

Decerry Donato is a reporter at dot.LA. Prior to that, she was an editorial fellow at the company. Decerry received her bachelor's degree in literary journalism from the University of California, Irvine. She continues to write stories to inform the community about issues or events that take place in the L.A. area. On the weekends, she can be found hiking in the Angeles National forest or sifting through racks at your local thrift store.

LA Tech ‘Moves’: DISQO Taps Salesforce Veteran, NTWRK Appoints VICE Exec
LA Tech ‘Moves’:

“Moves,” our roundup of job changes in L.A. tech, is presented by Interchange.LA, dot.LA's recruiting and career platform connecting Southern California's most exciting companies with top tech talent. Create a free Interchange.LA profile here—and if you're looking for ways to supercharge your recruiting efforts, find out more about Interchange.LA's white-glove recruiting service by emailing Sharmineh O’Farrill Lewis (sharmineh@dot.la). Please send job changes and personnel moves to moves@dot.la.

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Samson Amore

Samson Amore is a reporter for dot.LA. He holds a degree in journalism from Emerson College and previously covered technology and entertainment for TheWrap and reported on the SoCal startup scene for the Los Angeles Business Journal. Send tips or pitches to samsonamore@dot.la and find him on Twitter @Samsonamore.

Meet NASA's Newest Robotic Arm that Could Change How We View Our Moon

NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory churns out no shortage of neat science – from the Ingenuity Mars helicopter to the Perseverance Rover and ARTEMIS, but a new project could be their most innovative to date.

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