Disney Plus Subs Rise to 94.9 Million as Profit Drops

Disney Plus
(Image credit: Disney)

The Walt Disney Co. said Disney Plus grew to 94.9 million subscribers as of Jan. 2, up from 86.8 million when the company last reported on Dec. 10.

Between investing in the shift to streaming and lost business at theme parks because of the COVID-19 pandemic, Disney’s earnings plunged.

The company said that net income fell to $17 million, or 1 cent a share, from $2.1 billion, or $1.16 a share, a year ago.

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Revenues fell 22% to $16.2 billion

But the company said that its streaming services continue to add subscribers. Including Hulu and ESPN Plus, it has 146 million paid subscribers.

That includes 12.1 million ESPN Plus subscribers and 38.4 million Hulu subscribers, comprised of 25.4 million taking the SVOD services only and 4 million with its live-TV vMVPD plus SVOD. 

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The company’s direct-to-consumer business losses shrank to $466 million, down from a $1.1 billion loss a year ago. Revenues rose 74% to $3.5 billion.

Operating income for Disney’s media and entertainment distribution businesses fell 2% to $1.45 billion. Revenues fell 5% to $12. 7 billion. 

Profits from the company’s linear networks fell 4% to $1.7 billion as revenue dropped 2% to $7.7 billion.

Content sales and licensing profit was down 76% to $188 million. Revenues  fell 56% to $1.7 billion.

“We believe the strategic actions we’re taking to transform our Company will fuel our growth and  enhance shareholder value, as demonstrated by the incredible strides we’ve made in our DTC business, reaching more than 146 million total paid subscriptions across our streaming services at the end of the quarter,” said CEO Bob Chapek. 

“We’re confident that, with our robust pipeline of exceptional, high-quality content and the upcoming launch of our new Star-branded international general entertainment offering, we are well-positioned to achieve even greater success going forward,” Chapek said.

Jon Lafayette

Jon has been business editor of Broadcasting+Cable since 2010. He focuses on revenue-generating activities, including advertising and distribution, as well as executive intrigue and merger and acquisition activity. Just about any story is fair game, if a dollar sign can make its way into the article. Before B+C, Jon covered the industry for TVWeek, Cable World, Electronic Media, Advertising Age and The New York Post. A native New Yorker, Jon is hiding in plain sight in the suburbs of Chicago.