August 5, 2020

Disney+ nets 60 million subscribers in 9 months

By Robert Scammell

Streaming service Disney+ now has 60.5 million subscribers worldwide as it continues to make ground on rival Netflix.

As of 27 June, the end period for the fiscal quarter, Disney+’s subscriber base stood at 57.5 million. But in an earnings call Disney chief executive Bob Chepak said that it had since added a further 3 million subscribers.

Disney+’s growth has been strong since it launched in November 2019. In April the company passed the 50 million mark, with coronavirus stay-at-home restrictions driving growth for Disney+ and rival streaming companies.

Between the official Q2 and Q3 figures – the March to June period covering the height of global lockdown restrictions – Disney+ subscribers increased by 72%.

However, the company has a long way to go before it catches Netflix, the largest streaming company by subscribers.

Netflix has more than 192.5 million paying subscribers – a number that it took 13 years to reach.

Disney+, by contrast, has taken just under nine months to reach nearly a third of Netlfix’s total subscriber count.

However, Reed Hasting’s Netflix shows no sign of slowing down, having also seen impressive growth during the pandemic. It added a record 15.8 million subscribers between January and March and another 10 million between April and June.

Disney+ subscribers a boost to disappointing Q3 earnings

As with the previous quarter, Disney+ has proved a silver lining in its earnings report, as the pandemic causes major disruptions to Disney theme parks and cinematic releases.

Disney’s direct-to-consumer segment, which includes streaming services Disney+, ESPN+ and Hulu, saw Q3 revenue increase from $3.9bn in 2019 to $4bn.

“Despite the ongoing challenges of the pandemic, we’ve continued to build on the incredible success of Disney+ as we grow our global direct-to-consumer businesses,” said Chapek in an earnings statement.

He added that Disney’s streaming services now have a total subscriber count surpassing 100 million.

The firm cites content such as Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker and Onward as Disney+ growth drivers in the quarter.

Chapek also announced that live-action Disney remake Mulan will be released on Disney+ with a $29.99 price tag, after the film’s cinematic release was delayed because of the pandemic.

Disney’s Studio Entertainment segment continues to take a hit from the pandemic, with revenues for the quarter decreasing 55% to $1.7bn from a year ago.

Revenues for its theme parks, experiences and products decreased by 85% to $1.0bn in Q3.

Overall revenues for The Walt Disney Company were down 42% year-on-year to $11.8bn.

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