Disney has overtaken Netflix in global subscriber numbers, at least if you add up the total number of Disney+, ESPN+, and Hulu subscriptions. However, subscriber growth in the United States and Canada has flattened off. Disney is losing money on its subscription services but making profits elsewhere. Disney will be increasing the price of its online video subscription packages and adding options with advertising.
The number of Disney+ subscribers rose to 152.1 million by the end of June 2022. 44.5 million of them were in the United States and Canada. 107.6 million of them were elsewhere, but 58.4 million of them were through Hotstar.
ESPN+ subscribers rose to 22.8 million, up 53% on the figure a year previously.
Hulu had a total of 46.2 million subscribers, of which 4.0 million were for the Live TV+ option, which attracts an average monthly revenue of $87.92, compared to $12.92 for the on-demand only service.
“With 14.4 million Disney+ subscribers added in the fiscal third quarter, we now have 221 million total subscriptions across our streaming offerings,” said Bob Chapek, the chief executive of The Walt Disney Company.
Media commentators noted that this combined number was more than the 220.7 million Netflix has worldwide, having lost nearly a million in the last quarter. The number of Netflix subscribers in the United States and Canada fell by 1.3 million, but at 73.28 million is still significantly more than for Disney+.
Disney+ has certainly done well to reach 44.5 million subscribers in the United States and Canada since its launch in November 2019 but showed little growth on the 44.4 million it had at the end of March and was only up 17% in 12 months.
Elsewhere, Disney+ showed greater growth, gaining 14.4 million subscribers in 3 months, 8.3 million of them through Hotstar.
The number of ESPN+ subscribers was up by 500,000 in 3 months, while the total number of Hulu subscribers was up by 600,000, although the number taking the Live TV option was down by about 100,000.
Quarterly financial losses on the Disney direct to consumer services increased to $1.1 billion, up from $0.9 billion the previous quarter, despite a rise in revenue from $4.9 billion to $5.1 billion. That is out of total quarterly revenues of $21.5 billion and quarterly net income of $1.4 billion.
Of $14.1 billion in quarterly revenue from media and entertainment distribution, linear networks still contributed $7.2 billion, up slightly from just under $7 billion the same quarter the previous year, and income was up 13% to just under $2.5 billion.
The Walt Disney Company officially announced the launch from December of various advertising supported options for its Disney+, ESPN+, and Hulu services.
Disney+ will be available for $7.99 a month with adverts and the cost will rise to $10.99 a month without adverts, although the annual price will be $109.99. ESPN+ will be available for $9.99 with adverts, or $99.99 a year. Hulu will be $7.99 with adverts and $14.99 a month without.
There will be various bundles available, with a premium plan for Disney+, ESPN+ and Hulu available for $19.99 a month, or $82.99 a month with Hulu and Live TV.