Disney+ passed 73.7 million paid subscribers by October 2020, within a year of launch, boosted by the Hotstar customers in India and Indonesia. Annual direct to consumer and international revenue was up 81% to $16.97 billion, although that produced an operating loss of $2.81 billion. Theme parks were hit hard by the coronavirus, with annual Disney revenues down 6% to $65.38 billion, with a net loss of $1.74 billion.
In the last quarter of its fiscal year, direct to consumer and international revenues increased 41% to $4.9 billion and the operating loss in this segment decreased from $751 million to $580 million. This was primarily due to subscriber growth at Hulu and ESPN+, partially offset by higher costs at Disney+.
Average monthly revenue per subscriber for the Disney+ service was $4.52, excluding premier access payments. The average monthly revenue for Disney+ Hotstar in India and Indonesia is significantly lower than the average monthly revenue per paid subscriber in North America and Europe. Excluding Hotstar, which accounts for just over a quarter of Disney+ subscribers, average monthly revenue was $5.30.
The number of subscribers to Hulu was up 28% over the year to 36.6 million. Of these, 4.1 million were for the live television package, up 41%, generating an average monthly revenue per subscriber of $71.90, compared to $12.59 for those with only the on-demand service.
ESPN+ subscribers were up to 10.3 million, from 3.5 million the previous year, generating average monthly revenue of $4.54, excluding pay-per-view. That was down from $5.15, due to the introduction of a bundled subscription package of Disney+, ESPN+ and Hulu.
Together, Disney+, Hulu and ESPN+ accounted for 120 million paid subscriptions worldwide.
“We haven’t just persevered during these tough times,” said Bob Chapek, the chief executive of The Walt Disney Company. “We’ve also taken a number of deliberate steps and smart risks that have positioned our Company for greater long-term growth.”
“Of course, the real bright spot amidst the pandemic has been our direct-to-consumer business.” He described the response from consumers as “overwhelmingly positive.”
“By separating content creation from distribution, we’ve been able to streamline our processes and better align the organization, towards these important strategic objectives, as we accelerate our pivot to a DTC-first business model.”
He was optimistic about the opportunities for Hulu+ live television, which he said he used and described as “really slick”.
“It really gives the utility that consumers might normally find from the cable or satellite subscriber and be able to get it over-the-top directly to their homes.”
“I think this will increasingly act as a solution to those households that have walked away from their traditional, more traditional cable type of subscriptions.”