Disney+ global subscribers soar to 116 million after Q2 slump

Hulu and ESPN+ also increased subscribers.

Disney+ is standing strong with 116 million global subscribers an increase of 57.5 million from the same time last year following its disappointing Q2 subscriber slump. 

The streaming platform added 13 million subscribers in Q3, the Walt Disney Company said during its earnings report on Thursday. Analysts projected Disney+ would reach a total of 115 million subscribers for the quarter.

In Q2, Disney+ reported 103.6 million subscribers, falling short of expectations. The streaming platform aims to reach at least 230 million subscribers by 2024. Currently, Netflix is the leading global streaming service provider with 200 million subscribers.

Growth comes in the wake of major Disney+ premieres such as the Pixar film Luca and TV shows including Marvel’s The Falcon and the Winter Soldier and Loki.

During the pandemic, Disney began releasing films simultaneously in theaters and on Disney+Premier Access for $29.99. The strategy recently sparked controversy when Scarlett Johansson sued Disney for breach of contract for using the simultaneous release for her film, Black Widow.

“Both Bob Iger and I, along with the distribution team, decided this was the best strategy because it enabled us to reach the broadest audience,” Bob Chapek, CEO at The Walt Disney Company, said on the earnings call, adding it’s “what we believe is in the best interest of the film, and the best interests of our constituents.”

Average monthly revenue per subscriber on Disney+ dropped from $4.62 to $4.16, mostly related to the launch of the Disney+Hotstar offering in India, Indonesia and Malaysia. 

Disney will celebrate Disney+ Day on November 18 with “an unprecedented, company-wide, promotional campaign,” Chapek said. 

Disney’s other streaming platforms, Hulu and ESPN+, also grew substantially in the quarter. Hulu hit 39 million subscribers, up 22% year over year. ESPN+ reached 14.9 million subscribers, increasing 75% year over year.

Revenue from Disney’s networks, including ESPN and ABC, was $2.19 billion, 33% from one year prior. Networks benefitted from the return of live sports, which led to higher advertising revenue. The Academy Awards, which was delayed to Q3, brought in higher advertising revenue, which was “partially offset by fewer impressions, reflecting lower average viewership,” said the company. 

Disney’s theme parks bounced back for the first time since the start of the pandemic, reaching $4.3 billion in revenue, up $1 billion from one year earlier, due in part to the reopening of Disneyland and Walt Disney World.

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