May 5, 2020
Lost in The Walt Disney Company’s subdued financials was the fact its upstart branded subscription streaming services — Disney+, Hulu and ESPN+ — are catching on with consumers.
The three services collectively exceeded 90 million subscribers in the second quarter (ended March 28), up from 63.5 million in Q1, putting them in the ballpark with Amazon Prime Video’s 100+ million Prime members — and about halfway up the ladder to industry pioneer Netflix.
The surge in OTT video revenue — upwards of $4.1 billion — ballooned costs as well, surpassing $812 million in the quarter, from $385 million in the previous-year period. Disney’s direct-to-consumer and international segment topped studio operations in revenue, and finished the period within 25% of parks, experiences and products.
“Disney’s streaming empire is beginning to compete with the likes of Netflix,” Danyaal Rashid, thematic analyst at GlobalData, said in a statement.
But with ongoing uncertainty about when its studio business will re-start, London-based GlobalData re-positioned Disney’s place in its “Music, Film and TV Thematic Rankings” from seventh to 10th — below all of its major streaming competitors from both the West and Asia, including Netflix (1st), Amazon (2nd), iQiyi (3rd) and Tencent (4th).
Rashid said Disney will weather the storm until a time comes when it can re-gain its physical assets — underscored by a SVOD empire.
“There is not a lot that Disney can do at the moment but keep up its strong presence in the streaming market and wait for the effects of COVID-19 to lessen so that it can re-open its parks,” Rashid said.