Disney+ Global Streaming Subscriber Growth Up 7.5M, But Q3 Could Be An Issue

Despite a financial miss in quarterly revenue and income, Walt Disney posted better-than-expected streaming subscriber numbers, and stock market investors went with the latter -- pushing up the company’s stock by 3% in after-market trading.

The Disney+ streaming service added 7.9 million subscribers in its most recent fiscal quarter ending April 2022 to total 137.7 million. Analysts were expecting a gain of about 5 million.

The company says Disney+ is on track to reach 230 million to 260 million subscribers by 2024, when it will attain profitability.

Total global subscriptions from all Disney streaming businesses now exceeds 205 million.

Company-wide revenues soared 30% to $20.3 billion.

Disney also recognized revenues of $1 billion -- resulting from early termination license agreements for film and television content delivered in the previous year. Without those, revenue still climbed a healthy 23%.



One major element in its growth was Disney Parks returning to pre-pandemic levels. Revenue more than doubled vs. a year ago to $6.7 billion.

While Disney Media/Entertainment Distribution business revenue was up 9% to $13.6 billion, the unit witnessed operating net income of $1.9 billion, down 32% from $2.9 billion in the year-earlier period.

Linear TV networks were up 5% and its direct-to-consumer (D2C) business -- all streaming business including Disney+ -- was 23% higher to $4.9 billion.

While linear TV networks maintained an operating income of $2.8 billion, D2C witnessed a loss of $887 million -- up from $290 million a year before. The company said this loss could increase to over $900 million in the following fiscal third quarter.

During the period, Disney saw greater losses at Disney+ (due to production costs) and ESPN+ (driven by higher sports program rights fees), and lower operating income at Hulu.

Total Disney+ subscribers are now up 33% to 137.7 million, while ESPN+ is up 62% to 22.3 million.

Total Hulu subscribers increased 10% to 45.6 million, with Hulu subscription video-on-demand (SVOD) improving 10% to 41.4 million and Hulu SVOD + Live TV subscribers gaining 8% to 4.1 million.

Disney's content sales/licensing business revenue slipped 3% to $1.9 billion, with sharply declining operating income of $16 million, down from $312 million.

Disney executives warned that the next quarter might see international subscribers issues and/or declines, especially in Eastern Europe territories, due to the effects of the Russia-Ukraine war.

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