February 4, 2020
Disney’s high-profile subscription streaming video platform continues to produce subscribers — and costs.
Disney Feb. 4 revealed the SVOD service ended the first quarter (ended Dec. 31, 2019) with 26.5 million subscribers, up significantly from the 20.8 million projected following the service’s Nov. 12 launch. Disney+ generated 10 million subscriptions in the first 24 hours.
“We had a strong first quarter, highlighted by the launch of Disney+, which has exceeded even our greatest expectations,” CEO Bob Iger said in a statement. “Thanks to our incredible collection of brands, outstanding content from our creative engines and state-of-the-art technology, we believe our direct-to-consumer services, including Disney+, ESPN+ and Hulu, position us well for continued growth in today’s dynamic media environment.”
Indeed, Disney+ has almost caught (Disney owned) Hulu, which ended 2019 with 27.2 million subs. Netflix ended the year with 61.4 million domestic subs.
At the same time, Disney’s Direct-to-Consumer & International segment, which includes Disney+, saw revenue increase from $900 million to $4 billion and segment operating loss grow from $136 million to $693 million. The increase in operating loss was due to costs associated with the launch of Disney+, the consolidation of Hulu and a higher loss at ESPN+. These increases were partially offset by a benefit from the inclusion of the 20th Century Fox Film business, and due to income at the international channels, including Star India.