Walt Disney’s streaming services—Disney+, Hulu, and ESPN+—have overtaken Netflix in the number of viewers, pushing its total number of paying streaming customers to 221mn, slightly ahead of Netflix. Commenting on the results for the streaming services, Bob Chapek, CEO, The Walt Disney Company, said: “with 14.4 million Disney+ subscribers added in the fiscal third quarter, we now have 221 million total subscriptions across our streaming offerings”. The firm reported 221.1 million subscribers across its three streaming platforms beating the 220.7 million subscribers Netflix announced in July. Walt Disney Company ended June with a total of 221.1 million streaming subscribers, edging past the 220.6 million posted by Netflix for the same period.
The company added 14.4 million subscribers to its Disney Plus service in the latest quarter, many of them outside of the US, far more than analysts had expected.
Later in the year, most likely in December, Disney will launch a new ad-supported streaming service in the US, which will still be charged at the current subscription rate of $7.99. The charge for the ad-free service will rise to $10.99 per month.
Disney chief executive Bob Chapek said the strong park performance was credited in part to "pent-up demand", but he added that the rebound was "far more resilient and far more long-lasting" than a short-term recovery from the pandemic.
Revenue increased by 26 per cent year on year to $21.5bn in the quarter and net profit rose 53 per cent to $1.4bn. Disney's earnings per share of $1.09 were ahead of Wall Street estimates of 96 cents.
The results were a boost to Chapek, whose contract was renewed this summer after a bruising few months over Disney’s response to Florida’s controversial law to restrict discussion of sexual or gender identity in primary schools.