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Disney+ Tops 152.1 Million Q3 Subs; Ad-Supported Tier Launching Dec. 8 Along With Platform Price Hikes

The Walt Disney Co. on Aug. 10 announced that its branded Disney+ subscription streaming service completed the studio’s third third quarter (ended July 2) with 152.1 million subscribers worldwide. That represents a 31% increase from 116 million subs at the end of the previous-year period. The platform added 14.4 million subs since the end of Q2 on April 2.

Disney’s pending ad-supported Disney+ subscription offering is set to launch on Dec. 8, priced at $7.99 per month. The ad-free subscription tier is increasing to $10.99 monthly, up $3. Hulu will also see a price hike to $7.99 from $6.99, with the ad-free option rising to $14.99 from the current $12.99.

Again, much of the platform’s foreign subscriber growth originated in India through Disney’s Hotstar streaming platform. The platform helped Disney add 13.5 million subs to 58.4 million from 44.9 million last year.

Disney+ added 6.6 million North American subs to end the period with 44.5 million from 37.9 million at the end of Q3 2021. International sub growth, excluding India, grew 48% to 49.2 million from 33.2 million last year.

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International subscribers now account for 107.6 million, or almost 71% of the Disney+ subscriber base.

When combined with 22.8 million ESPN+ subs (up 53% year-over-year), plus Hulu’s 42.2 million (up 8%) and four million Hulu with Live TV subs (up 8%), Disney ended Q3 with 221 million total streaming subscribers.

Disney expects to generate 135 million to 165 million core Disney+ subs by end of fiscal-year 2024, with non-Hotstar subscribers accounting for 60% to 70% of the projected 230 million to 260 million overall subscribers. Disney is now upping its guidance for Disney+ Hotstar subs to 80 million by the end of fiscal year 2024.

Meanwhile, as Disney ups its direct-to-consumer streaming footprint, so too do the segment’s expenses. The DTC segment ended the quarter with more than $1.1 billion in operating losses on revenue of $5 billion. That compared with an operating loss of $293 million on revenue of $4.2 billion in the previous-year period as the platform ramps up content spending and worldwide distribution.

Disney expects the unit’s operating loss to peak in the current fiscal quarter before transitioning toward operating income over the next two years.

“We continue to transform entertainment as we near our second century, with compelling new storytelling across our many platforms and unique immersive physical experiences that exceed guest expectations, all of which are reflected in our strong operating results this quarter,” CEO Bob Chapek said in a statement.

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