HomeTvDisney+ lost millions of subscribers in the first quarter
Disney+ lost millions of subscribers in the first quarter
February 9, 2023
Disney+ Hotstar rowed in and around India after losing IPL digital rights (cricket).
Disney+ lost 2.4 million subscribers in the last calendar quarter of 2022, which the company considers the first fiscal quarter of the new year (2023 in this case). While the loss occurred outside the US and was not as severe as some analysts had expected, it is still a stark reality in black and white.
The company’s own previous guidance predicts modest “core” Disney+ growth, except in India, where Disney+ Hotstar lost IPL cricket rights in the auction. (Viacom18, a joint venture between competitor Paramount and India’s Reliance Industries, won the digital rights with a bid of $2.62 billion, and Disney Star was awarded the linear television rights for $3.02 billion.)
Disney+ Hotstar, the version of Disney+ offered in India and parts of Southeast Asia, lost 3.8 million subscribers in the first fiscal quarter. In total, Disney+ (including Hotstart) closed the 2022 calendar with 161.8 million subscribers.
Things went more smoothly in the state. In the US and Canada, Disney+ gained 200,000 subscribers to reach 46.6 million. Hulu added 800,000 subscribers in the quarter (to reach 48 million); ESPN added 600,000 (to 24.9 million). All told, Disney has 163.4 million streaming subscribers, still down from last check-in.
Disney’s direct-to-consumer revenue rose 13 percent in the quarter to $5.3 billion. The streaming business once again lost more than $1 billion ($1.05 billion, to be exact). Disney continues to believe that Disney+ will be profitable in 2024.
The Walt Disney Company beat Wall Street’s top and bottom financial forecasts, posting fiscal first-quarter earnings of 99 cents per share on revenue of $23.51 billion. Media analysts forecast the company will post earnings of 78 cents per share on revenue of $23.37 billion.
The October to December quarter saw the release of two major sequels, the blockbuster “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever” and “Avatar: The Way of Water”.
“Black Panther: Wakanda Forever”
Courtesy of Annette Brown/Marvel Studios
“After a solid first quarter, we are embarking on a major transformation that will maximize the potential of our world-class creative teams and unparalleled brands and franchises,” CEO Bob Iger said in a statement accompanying the financial announcements. “We believe the work we’re doing to transform our company around creativity while reducing expenses will drive sustained growth and profitability in our streaming business, better position us to weather future disruptions and global economic challenges, and deliver value to our shareholders.” “
“Significant” probably understates Iger’s Disney reorganization; another way of illustrating it is a complete breakdown of Bob Chapek’s vision.
Disney+ closed the summer quarter (their fourth fiscal quarter) with 164.2 million subscribers. With the help of Hulu and ESPN+, Disney, the company boasts a total of 223 million global paid subscribers. That growth came at a big cost: the company’s DTC business lost $1.5 billion in the last (fiscal) quarter of 2022.
Just 12 days after those numbers were released, Disney’s board replaced Chapek with Iger — the guy Parks guru Chapek took over the reins from in 2020.