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Disney+ Growth Slows as Streaming Service Inches Past 118 Million Subscribers

Two-year old service only adds 2 million subs in the quarter

Two days before its second birthday, Disney+ has reported it has 118 million subscribers as of the end of September.

Compared to the 116 million the company had at the end of June, that represents an increase of just 2 million, and is well below Wall Street’s forecast of around 126 million.

It is the slowest quarterly growth since the service launched in 2019. In September, CEO Bob Chapek warned that growth would slow and would only increase by “low single-digit millions,” citing a production slowdown caused by the ongoing pandemic.

While Disney+ featured Premiere Access for “Jungle Cruise” and Marvel Studios’ “Black Widow,” those films were also available in theaters. The only Marvel Studios series during the quarter was the back end of “Loki” (which ended in July) and the animated “What If…” The streaming service, which recently offered “Black Widow” for free to all subscribers, will have both “Hawkeye” and its latest “Star Wars” series, “The Book of Boba Fett,” premiere in the next two months.

The company also has its “Disney+ Day” event on Friday, which will include the platform debuts of “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings” and “Jungle Cruise.”

Between all of its streaming services, including Hulu and ESPN+, Disney now counts 179 million total subscribers. ESPN+ had the biggest quarterly increase with 2.3 million subscribers, pushing its total above 17 million. Hulu now has 43.8 million subscribers between its SVOD and Live TV options.

“This has been a very productive year for The Walt Disney Company, as we’ve made great strides in reopening our businesses while taking meaningful and innovative steps in Direct-to-Consumer and at our Parks, particularly with our popular new Disney Genie and Magic Key offerings,” Chapek said. “As we celebrate the two-year anniversary of Disney+, we’re extremely pleased with the success of our streaming business, with 179 million total subscriptions across our DTC portfolio at the end of fiscal 2021 and 60% subscriber growth year-over-year for Disney+. We continue to manage our DTC business for the long-term, and are confident that our high-quality entertainment and expansion into additional markets worldwide will enable us to further grow our streaming platforms globally.”