November 12, 2020
Disney’s high-profile subscription streaming video service Disney+ ended the fourth quarter and fiscal year with 73.7 million subscribers — 12 months to the day after launching.
Separately, ESPN+ added 6.8 million subs to end the quarter/year with 10.3 million. Hulu added 6.9 million subs to reach 32.5 million subs — up 27% from the previous-year period. Online TV service Hulu with Live TV added 1.2 million subs to end the period with 4.1 million subs. Disney ended the period with 120.6 million combined subs.
“The real bright spot has been our direct-to-consumer business, which is key to the future of our company,” CEO Bob Chapek said in a statement, adding that Disney+ is “far surpassing our expectations in just its first year.”
Disney+ will roll out in Latin America beginning on Nov. 17. Disney bowed Disney+ Hotstar on April 3 and Sept. 5 in India, respectively. India/Indonesia now account for 25% of all Disney+ subscribers. International expansion, in addition to growth of Hulu and ESPN+, have ratcheted up expenses in Disney’s Direct-to-Consumer and International business unit.
Segment revenue for the quarter increased 41% to $4.9 billion and segment operating loss decreased from $751 million to $580 million. The decrease in operating loss was primarily due to improved results at Hulu and ESPN+, partially offset by higher costs at Disney+, driven by the ongoing rollout and a decrease at international TV channels.
The improvement at Hulu was due to subscriber growth and increased advertising revenue driven by higher impressions, partially offset by an increase in programming and production costs due to higher subscriber-based fees for programming the live television service. Higher results at ESPN+ were driven by subscriber growth and higher income from Ultimate Fighting Championship pay-per-view events.
The decrease at international channels was due to lower affiliate and advertising revenue, partially offset by a decrease in costs driven by lower general and administrative expenses and bad debt recoveries.