Disney is Betting on Streaming and is Moving ‘Dancing With the Stars’ to Prove It

"Dancing with the Stars" is moving over to Disney+, the latest sign the company is making a big bet on the streaming service.

 

Dancing with the Stars will now stream live on Disney+. (Photo by Silas Stein/picture alliance via Getty Images)

Since its debut in 2019, Disney+ has grown faster than almost all expectations and says it’s on its way to reaching 230 to 260 million subscribers by 2024 . Disney is now making a bigger bet on the streaming service, by taking its reality TV hit Dancing with the Stars to the platform from its ABC broadcast network.

Starting this fall, Dancing with the Stars with debut on Disney+. The series, which has been renewed for two seasons, will be exclusively available on the platform, Variety reported.

“Dancing with the Stars has entertained fans for 16 years on ABC, and we are excited to bring this beloved show exclusively to Disney+ as the platform’s first-ever live series,” Kareem Daniel the chairman of Disney Media and Entertainment Distribution said in a press release. “The show’s broad appeal…make Disney+ the perfect home for Dancing with the Stars while continuing to expand our demographic reach.”

Disney’s willingness to move a broadcast staple like Dancing with the Stars—the first live TV series on the service—is only the latest signal that Disney believes streaming is a major part of its future. The company has already debuting a number of movies on the service, including Black Widow, Soul and Hamilton. Initially a response to pandemic-driven theater closures, Disney is increasingly comfortable releasing movies in theaters and Disney simultaneously, or skipping theaters altogether to drive more viewers to Disney+.

“We recognize that the single, most effective way to grow our streaming platforms worldwide is with great content,” Disney CEO Bob Chapek said last year on a conference call with analysts and investors.

The success of Pixar film Turning Red, which debuted on Disney+ March 11, suggests the strategy may be working. The film surpassed many of Netflix’s popular shows and movies in viewing time including The Adam Project and Inventing Anna the week of March 7-13, according to data from Nielsen. The film was watched for a whopping 1,701 million minutes, compared to The Adam Project‘s 1,360, the second-most watched show during the period.

Disney+’s growth tactics have introduced new headaches for the company, though. Black Widow star Scarlett Johansson sued Disney because the company released the film on Disney+ while it was still in theaters, claiming it was a breach of her contract that robbed her of potential earnings derived from box-office receipts. The suit was settled in September.

Disney is Betting on Streaming and is Moving ‘Dancing With the Stars’ to Prove It