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ESPN+ now has 3.5m paid subscribers, says Disney CEO

ESPN+, ESPN’s direct-to-consumer streaming service, now has 3.5 million paid subscribers, Disney chief executive Bob Iger revealed in a quarterly earnings call.

This is up from announced figures of 1 million subscribers in September 2018, 2 million in February, and 2.4 million in August.

Much of the growth seems attributed to the addition of the Ultimate Fighting Championship to the OTT platform, which debuted in April 2018 and costs $4.99 a month. The rise of ESPN+ is also down to the acquisition of numerous international soccer rights, including the German Bundesliga from 2020.

The service will get a further spike later this month when ESPN+ is bundled with Disney+ and Hulu in a $12.99-a-month offering, starting on November 12. Iger did not disclose pre-sale numbers for Disney+, which costs $6.99 a month on its own.

“What ESPN+ is teaching us is that the opportunity for the company with sports is multiplatform,” Iger said during the earnings call. “I think you’re likely to see more sports on ABC as the value of live grows on the live, linear channels.”