Disney's Cable TV Nets Sink 10% In Subscribers YoY

As its streaming platforms keep growing, Walt Disney's cable networks head in the other direction -- losing around 10% year-over-year, according to its annual report.

Disney’s annual report says its distributed U.S. networks have each dipped some 8 million to 9 million subscribers YoY.

Disney Channel is now in 76 million homes (vs. 85 million in 2020), while ESPN is in 76 million (84 million); FX, 77 million (86 million); National Geographic, 76 million (85 million); and Freeform is in 76 million homes (85 million) — as of September 2021, according to Nielsen data. 

The data — for 2021 vs. 2020 — comes from pay TV providers and “the majority of digital OTT subscriber counts.” The report did not elaborate.

Disney owns or co-owns (with majority stakes) 15 U.S. cable networks. In addition to the above brands, other networks in the major Disney cable TV network stable also lost about the same number of subscribers.



ESPN2 has 76 million subscribers (84 million in 2020), followed by FXX with 72 million (83 million); Disney Junior, 57 million (66 million); Disney XD, 56 million (66 million); ESPNU, 51 million (62 million); FXM, 47 million (57 million); and National Geographic Wild, 51 million (60 million).

Data for ESPNEWS, with 59 million (62 million); SEC network, 59 million (85 million) and ACC network (currently 42 million) came from SNL Kagan as of December 2020.

At the same time, Disney notes its premium streamers -- which house much of its cable TV network content -- have grown in subscribers over the past year. Disney+ is up 60% to 118 million, while Hulu is 20% more to 44 million and ESPN+ has added 66% to 17.1 million.

Disney does not break out Disney+ U.S. subscribers. The company says the 118 million subscribers include global Disney+, Disney+ Hotstar and STAR+ brands.

1 comment about "Disney's Cable TV Nets Sink 10% In Subscribers YoY".
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  1. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics Inc, December 1, 2021 at 7:33 a.m.

    Wayne, the Disney channels you are reporting on don't have any subscribers so how can they be losing any. The "subscribers" that are referred to are for cable syetems or satellite distributors and they apply for bundles of many channels only some of which are  Disney's. If you subscribe to a cable system---as many still do---  you can't call them and cancel ESPN or The Family Channel. You would have to drop the whole package. It's possible that this will change at some point in the future but how long we will have to wait for that degree of flexibility to be in place remains to be seen..

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