Disney+ Ups Q4 Subs 39% to 164 Million, Streaming Biz Loss Skyrockets $800 Million to $1.5 Billion

The Walt Disney Co. Nov. 8 announced that its flagship streaming service ended the fourth quarter (ended Oct. 1) with more than 164 million global subscribers. That was up 39% from 118.1 million subs during the previous-year period.

The platform, which is launching an ad-supported subscription option on Dec. 8, again saw India’s Disney + Hotstar account for the majority of the platform’s subs at 61.3 million — up 42% from 43.3 million a year ago.

North American subscribers increased 20% to 46.4 million from 38.8 million. International subs (excluding India) increased 57% to 56.5 million from 36 million.

Separately, ESPN+ saw its sub base increase 42% to 24.3 million from 17.1 million.

Hulu ended the fiscal year with 42.8 million, up 9% from 39.7 million. Hulu + Live TV ended the period with 4.4 million subs, up 10% from 4 million. Total Hulu subscriber count increased 8% to 47.2 million from 43.8 million.

Overall, the direct-to-consumer segment saw revenue increase 8% to $4.9 billion and operating loss increased $800 million to $1.5 billion. The increase in operating loss was due to a higher loss at Disney+ and a decrease in results at Hulu, partially offset by improved results at ESPN+.

In a statement, CEO Bob Chapek remained cautiously optimistic about the media giant’s digital strategy going forward.

“Our fourth quarter saw strong subscription growth with the addition of 14.6 million total subscriptions, including 12.1 million Disney+ subscribers,” Chapek said. “We expect our DTC operating losses to narrow going forward and that Disney+ will still achieve profitability in fiscal 2024, assuming we do not see a meaningful shift in the economic climate.”

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