Download Data Shows Netflix Drop, Disney Gain, Record for Paramount

Netflix's 'Squid Game'
A year ago, 'Squid Game' gave Netflix downloads a boost. (Image credit: Netflix)

Global downloads of the Netflix app fell in September, while Disney Plus saw gains and Paramount Plus tallied records, according to a scorecard published by Evercore ISI media analyst Vijay Jayant.

Overall subscription video-on-demand downloads were up 13% from a year ago in September, with Netflix taking a 26% share, topping Disney’s 25% share. Ad-supported VOD downloads were up 30% in September, with Pluto TV having the largest share at 37%. Downloads of virtual multichannel video programming distributors (vMVPDs) were up 42% in the quarter, led by YouTube TV.

Netflix’s global downloads dropped 22% in September compared to a year ago and 6% in the third quarter, Jayant said. The analyst said Netflix faced a tough comparison with a year ago, when people were clamoring to watch Squid Game.

But despite the negative download trend, Jayant said he expects that when Netflix reports its third-quarter earnings, net subscriber additions will be up 1 million, in line with the company’s guidance to investors. He also said he expects subscriber growth to accelerate in the fourth quarter because of a strong content slate.

Jayant said he sees strong gains at Disney. Downloads for Disney Plus, minus the Hotstar service in India, were up 97% in September and 39% in the quarter. When adding in Hotstar, Disney set a record for its best month and quarter since losing the rights to Indian Premier League cricket.

For the third quarter, Jayant expects Disney to report 6 million net ads for Disney Plus without Hotstar, including 4 million new international subs and 2 million additional domestic subs. He noted enthusiasm for the content on display on the recent Disney Plus Day.

HBO Max downloads moderated in September after flying high in August thanks to the launch of House of the Dragon, the prequel to HBO’s Game of Thrones. Jayant said he still expects HBO Max to add 2 million subscribers in the quarter. 

Downloads of Warner Bros. Discovery’s other streaming service, Discovery Plus, were down 21% month over month and 41% year over year, hitting their lowest levels since that service launched in January 2021. Marketing spending is down as the company gets ready to launch a service that consolidates Discovery Plus and HBO Max.

Paramount Plus set a record for monthly and quarterly downloads in September and the third quarter. Paramount will have a stronger content offering in the fourth quarter, Jayant added, including NFL football, Tulsa King, Criminal Minds: Evolution and Top Gun: Maverick. ■

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.