Disney+ Growth Rebounds With 116 Million Subscribers, Blows Past Expectations

Disney brought in $17 billion in revenue during its fiscal third quarter

Sam Wilson Captain America Anthony Mackie
Disney+/Marvel Studios

Disney+’s growth rebounded during the company’s most recent quarter with 116 million subscribers globally, blowing past analysts’ expectations of 112 million.

The company reported revenue of $17.02 billion during the quarter ending July 3, 2021, which represents its fiscal third quarter. Analysts following the stock via Yahoo! Finance expected Disney revenue to come in at $16.8 billion. Disney also posted earnings per share of 80 cents, when analysts were expecting a per share value of 56 cents.

With the news, Disney’s stock saw a more-than 5.3% boost in after-hours trading to $188.88 a share.

Disney+’s total is up from the 103 million it reported back in May. Among Disney’s other streaming services, ESPN+ now has 14.9 million subs, while Hulu has 39.1 million for its on-demand service and an additional 3.7 million for its Hulu + Live TV option.

“We ended the third quarter in a strong position, and are pleased with the Company’s trajectory as we grow our businesses amidst the ongoing challenges of the pandemic,” Disney CEO Bob Chapek said. “We continue to introduce exciting new experiences at our parks and resorts worldwide, along with new guest-centric services, and our direct-to-consumer business is performing very well, with a total of nearly 174 million subscriptions across Disney+, ESPN+ and Hulu at the end of the quarter, and a host of new content coming to the platforms.”

Disney’s Media and Entertainment Distribution segment reported a revenue of $12.68 billion, with direct-to-consumer revenue bringing in $4.3 billion. Domestic channels revenue increased 13% for the quarter to $5.6 billion, while operating income decreased 37% to $1.8 billion. This was due to higher programming and production costs and an increase in marketing costs. There were higher programming and productions costs due to the return of live sports events which were previously canceled or delayed in the prior-year quarter due to COVID-19.

Direct-to-consumer revenues increased 57% to $4.3 billion, while operating loss decreased to $0.3 billion due to improved results at Hulu but offset by a higher loss at Disney+ due to higher programming, production, marketing and technology costs. However, according to Disney, this was partially offset by subscription revenue and Premier Access revenue for “Cruella,” starring Emma Stone.

Of course, due to Disney parks reopening after closures due to the pandemic, revenues for the quarter increased to $4.3 billion compared to $1.1 billion in the prior-year quarter. Growth in merchandise licensing was primarily due to purchases based on IP like Mickey and Minnie, “Star Wars,” Disney Princesses and “Spider-Man.”


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