Disney+ subscriber base grows by 12.1 million in Q4

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The subscriber count for Disney+ grew by 12.1 million subscribers in the fourth quarter, raising the total for the streaming platform to 164.2 million, The Walt Disney Company said Tuesday.

The fourth quarter’s total number of paid Disney+ subscribers marked a 39% increase from October 2021, when it reported 118.1 million. 

Disney+ startscreen on mobile phone. Disney+ online video, content streaming subscription service. Disney plus, Star wars, Marvel, Pixar, National Geographic. (iStock / iStock)

The company’s other streaming services, ESPN+ and Hulu, also saw their numbers of paid subscribers grow year-over-year, rising 42% and 8% respectively. As of Oct. 1, ESPN+ had 24.3 million, while Hulu had 47.2 million, according to Disney.

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Overall, its direct-to-consumer services now has a total of over 235 million subscribers, including 14.6 million added in the fourth quarter.

Streaming competitor Netflix, meanwhile, said in October that it gained 2.4 million subscribers in its third quarter, exceeding its own projection of 1 million and lifting its subscriber count to about 223 million. 

Disney’s direct-to-consumer services segment posted $1.47 billion in fourth-quarter operating losses, roughly 134% wider than the 630 million it reported in the same period last year. 

FILE PHOTO: Bob Chapek, Chief Executive Officer of Disney, speaks at the 2022 Disney Legends Awards during Disney’s D23 Expo in Anaheim, California, U.S. September 9, 2022.  (REUTERS/Mario Anzuoni / Reuters Photos)

CEO Bob Chapek said in a statement the company expects that figure to "narrow going forward" and for Disney+ to become profitable in fiscal 2024. Both of those things, Chapek said, are "assuming we do not see a meaningful shift in the economic climate."

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He cited the act of "realigning our costs," as well as the rollouts of price increases and an ad-supported Disney+ plan option, as what the company thinks will help "achieve a profitable streaming business."

Disney Dreamer Rose “Rosie” Warfield looks on during the Disney Dreamers Academy at Walt Disney World Resort on March 5, 2022 in Lake Buena Vista, Florida.  (Al Bello/Getty Images for Disney Dreamers Academy / Getty Images)

Disney announced in March it had plans to launch a cheaper, ad-supported streaming subscription tier, FOX Business previously reported. The new tier is expected to launch in early December, with the basic, standalone Disney+ plan with ads slated to cost $7.99 on a monthly basis.

Netflix rolled out its own ad-supported subscription plan last week that costs $6.99 per month in the U.S. 

TickerSecurityLastChangeChange %
DISTHE WALT DISNEY CO.99.94-0.54-0.54%
NFLXNETFLIX INC.263.46+4.86+1.88%

Disney said it had $20.15 billion in fourth-quarter revenues, compared to $18.53 billion in the same period the prior year. Its diluted earnings per share "excluding certain items" decreased 19% year-over-year, coming in at $0.30. Both were below analyst estimates.

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