Documentary Business

Peter Hamilton Consultants, Inc

Disney+ with Nat Geo tops 100 million subscribers. Forecast: 230M+ by 2024. Podcast with Dan Salerno

The Disney+ streaming service roared past the 100 million subscriber mark.

That’s according to yesterday’s investors’ call.

Disney+ is the home of the National Geographic “yellow border” brand and programming from Nat Geo Channel and Nat Geo Wild.

Veteran programming executive Dan Salerno follows our recent exploration of the launch of discovery+ by reviewing Nat Geo’s offer on Disney+.

Listen to Dan Salerno (13′)

I ask Dan:

  • What Nat Geo programming is being highlighted on Disney+? Or not!
  • Where are the classic Nat Geo documentaries?
  • Is Disney+ cannibalizing the program pipelines — and therefore business models — of Nat Geo Channel and Nat Geo Wild?

Nat Geo vs discovery+

We conclude by exploring the big differences in scale and urgency that frame the streaming strategies of Discovery and Nat Geo:

  • Discovery is “ALL IN!” on discovery+ because the company’s survival depends on the success of the streamer.
  • Nat Geo can find its way inside The Walt Disney Company behemoth, where Star Wars and a cascade of big family entertainment brands are driving a successful launch.

Forecast: 240 million!

  • Disney CEO Bob Chapek forecasts 240 million subs by 2024.

How much did they spend?

After recording our conversation, we discussed data that points to the comparative scale of the Nat Geo and Discovery operations.

  • At its peak, Discovery Inc is estimated to have spent nearly $1.5 billion on programming across its portfolio of channels each year.
  • Nat Geo Channel launched around 15 years after Discovery, and its portfolio content spend has been estimated to be around $250-300M / year.

Screenshots: Disney Magic

Dan said in a later conversation: “Browsing Disney+, I feel happy.  Makes me smile.  Some titles trigger memories, others are just bright happy colors and images. I guess that’s the magic of Disney.  It really does matter.”

Screenshots taken from Disney+

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