Disney+ paid subscribers up at 73.7 mn; focus on direct-to-consumer biz

It’s been a year since Disney+, the dedicated streaming platform from The Walt Disney Company was launched. Continuing to delight consumers around the world, Disney+ has now crossed the 70 million-subscriber milestone – 73.7 million subscribers to be precise.

Disney+ Hotstar launched on April 3, 2020 in India (as a conversion of the pre-existing Hotstar service) and is included in the number of paid subscribers and average monthly revenue per paid subscriber. The average monthly revenue per paid subscriber for Disney+ Hotstar in India is significantly lower than the average monthly revenue per paid subscriber in North America and Europe.

Announcing the results for its fourth quarter and fiscal year ended October 3, 2020, The Walt Disney Company said that the most significant adverse impact in the current quarter and year from COVID-19 was approximately $2.4 billion and $6.9 billion, respectively, on operating income at its Parks, Experiences and Products segment due to revenue lost as a result of the closures or reduced operating capacities.

The impacts at Media Networks, Studio Entertainment and Direct-to-Consumer & International were less significant. Media Networks had an adverse impact in the current quarter from higher sports programming cost, partially offset by higher advertising revenue, reflecting the shift of sports programming from prior quarters to the current quarter. For the year, Media Networks had a modest benefit reflecting the deferral of sports programming costs into fiscal 2021, when the company expects the events to occur, partially offset by lower advertising revenue.

At Studio Entertainment, lower revenues due to the deferral or cancellation of significant film releases as a result of theater closures were partially offset by lower amortization, marketing and distribution costs for both the quarter and year. At Direct-to-Consumer & International for the quarter and year, lower advertising revenue was partially offset by lower costs, including the deferral of sports programming costs into fiscal 2021. “In total, we estimate the net adverse impact of COVID-19 on our current quarter and full year segment operating income across all of our businesses was approximately $3.1 billion and $7.4 billion, respectively, inclusive of the impact at Parks, Experiences and Products,” the company stated.

“Even with the disruption caused by COVID-19, we’ve been able to effectively manage our businesses while also taking bold, deliberate steps to position our company for greater long-term growth,” said Bob Chapek, Chief Executive Officer, The Walt Disney Company. “The real bright spot has been our direct-to-consumer business, which is key to the future of our company, and on this anniversary of the launch of Disney+ we’re pleased to report that, as of the end of the fourth quarter, the service had more than 73 million paid subscribers – far surpassing our expectations in just its first year.”

Direct-to-Consumer & International revenues 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 the company’s international channels.


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