Walt Disney shares soared to a record high last night after the entertainment firm said its new streaming service, Disney+, had been met with "extraordinary consumer demand".

Disney said the new service reached 10 million sign-ups in its first day.

The strong performance appears to establish Disney as a leading player in the streaming wars that pit it against industry leader Netflix, Amazon.com's Prime Videoservice, Apple's Apple TV+ and AT&T's forthcoming HBO Max service.

Combined with Disney's other streaming businesses - Hulu ,which has 26.8 million subscribers, and ESPN+, which serves 3.5 million subscribers - the company now serves 40.3 million viewers in the US.

This compares to about 60 million for Netflix.

Disney+, which launched in the US, Canada and the Netherlands on Tuesday, was hit with technical glitches that the company said were caused by higher-than-expected demand.

The new service is not due to arrive in Ireland until the end of March of next year.

It costs $7 per month and features roughly 500 movies and 7,500 TV episodes from the company's deep family entertainment catalog, as well as new programming. A bundle including ESPN+ and Hulu costs $13.

In April, Disney said it plans to reach 60 million to 90 million Disney+ subscribers globally by 2024.

Analysts said that at its current pace, Disney could hit that subscriber goal potentially two years earlier. 

Although Disney's day one numbers were more than three times the size of some forecasts, it was not immediately clear how many of these new customers were from free promotions. 

In October, Disney and US telecom provider Verizon Communications announced a promotion that made all new and existing Verizon unlimited wireless customers, as well as new Fios and 5G home internet customers, eligible for a free, one-year subscription to Disney+. 

Ahead of the launch, Disney executives said they expected between 17 million to 19 million new subscribers as a result of the Verizon promotion. 

Verizon told Reuters in October it expected even more of its customers to have access to the deal. 

Disney said it had no future plans to release Disney+subscriber data outside of the company's quarterly earnings calls.