Disney+ ended 2021 with just under 130 million subscribers, up from 95 million in a year, with around a third of them in the United States and Canada. The number of ESPN+ subscribers rose 76% in the year to over 21 million, while total Hulu subscriptions increased by 15% to over 45 million. Quarterly direct-to-consumer revenues were up to $4.7 billion, with an operating loss of $0.6 billion, up on the previous year as growth in subscription revenue was more than offset by higher programming, technology, and marketing costs.
The number of Disney+ subscribers worldwide grew by 11.7 million in the most recent quarter, having shown signs of slowing down in the previous two quarters.
Disney+ had 42.9 million subscribers in the United States and Canada at the end of 2021, up 18% in a year. It rose by over 4 million in the quarter, including around 2 million following the strategic decision to include Disney+ and ESPN+ as part of a Hulu Live subscription. Disney+ is now in around a third of broadband homes in the United States and Canada.
International subscriptions, excluding Hotstar, rose 40% to 41.1 million, adding over 5 million in a quarter, following market launches in South Korea, Taiwan, and Hong Kong, with further growth in European markets.
Disney+ Hotstar subscribers in India and some other Southeast Asian countries increased 57% to 45.9 million, albeit at a lower revenue of around a dollar a month.
ESPN+ subscriptions rose 76% from 12.1 million to 21.3 million in the course of 2021, with average monthly revenue up 15% to $5.16.
Hulu subscriptions increased 15% from 39.4 million to 45.3 million, of which 4.3 million included the Live TV package, at an average monthly revenue of $87.
Quarterly revenues for The Walt Disney Company were up 34% to $21.8 billion, with revenue recovering in the parks, experiences and products segment, while media and entertainment distribution rose to $14.6 billion. Direct-to-consumer revenues were up 34% on the same quarter the previous year to $4.7 billion, although the operating loss increased 27% to $593 million. The increase in operating loss was due to higher losses at Disney+, and to a lesser extent at EPSN+, partially offset by improved results at Hulu.
Bob Chapek, the chief executive of The Walt Disney Company, said: “This marks the final year of The Walt Disney Company’s first century, and performance like this coupled with our unmatched collection of assets and platforms, creative capabilities, and unique place in the culture give me great confidence we will continue to define entertainment for the next 100 years.”
“We have diverse revenue streams that span business models and industries, but which all are interconnected to create entertainment’s most powerful synergy machine,” he told analysts. “In short, our collection of assets and platforms, creative capabilities, and unique place in the cultural zeitgeist give me great confidence that we will continue to define entertainment for the next 100 years.”
“Our success at Disney+ this quarter was not the result of any one item, but instead a combination of organic growth and powerful new content, our strategic decision to include the Disney bundle with all Hulu Live subscriptions, and new market launches.”