As the pandemic forced people to entertain themselves at home, Disney+ was a shining light for the young and the young at heart. The platform entered the streaming wars with much fanfare in November 2019, gaining 10 million subscribers out of the gate. It’s been on a rocket ship since, surpassing 100 million subscribers in April — within a year and a half of its launch.
Joe Earley joined Disney in 2019 after serving as chief operating officer for Fox Television Group and president of production company The Jackal Group. Earley’s wealth of knowledge on both the marketing and production side made him a key fit to lead marketing for Disney+, as well as Walt Disney Studios, Disney-ABC TV Group, Pixar Animation, Marvel and Lucasfilm.
Earley leveraged Disney’s massive content empire to catapult Disney Plus to success. ABC shows including Dancing With the Stars and Live With Kelly and Ryan name-dropped Disney+, and the platform was heavily promoted across Disney’s social media channels and parks. Disney also launched a streaming super-bundle, combining subscriptions to Disney+, ESPN+ and Hulu, driving Disney+ to become the fastest growing streaming service of the year.