November 10, 2021
Disney Nov. 10 disclosed that its Disney+ subscription streaming video platform added just 2 million subscribers in the fourth quarter (ended Oct. 2). The platform ended the fiscal year with 118.1 million subs, which was up 60% from 73.7 million subs in the previous-year period.
The subscriber growth slowdown was expected after CEO Bob Chapek in September warned the service would face challenges getting existing Indian subs to renew without the presence of Indian Premier League professional cricket, among other challenges. India represents 37% of all Disney+ subs following Disney’s acquisition of the Hotstar streaming platform from Fox.
Indeed, Hotstar lost about 2.5 million subs in the quarter. The overall sub gain was less than half of the 4.4 million global subs Netflix added during the same time period.
Disney ended the fiscal year with 179 million subscribers when including ESPN+ (17.1 million), Hulu and online TV platform Hulu + Live TV (43.1 million).
“In the past fiscal year alone, we have grown [direct-to-consumer] portfolio by 48%,” Chapek said on the fiscal call, adding that Disney remains focused on the long-term goals for the DTC segment versus quarter-by-quarter metrics. The strategy helps Disney avoid focusing on the Q4 Disney+ sub growth decline.
Chapek expects Disney+ sub growth to grow significantly in Q3 and Q4 next year as the service is made available in 160 countries, and the platform debuts myriad new movies and episodic programming.
“We’re confident we are on the right trajectory to achieve the guidance [230 million to 260 million Disney+ subs by 2024] we disclosed at last year’s investor day,” he said, including the platform achieving profitability.