Disney+ Now Has 130 Million Subscribers

Posted on February 11, 2022 by Paul Thurrott in Disney+ with 6 Comments

Disney+ ended 2021 with about 130 million subscribers, an annual gain of 37 percent when compared to the 95 million a year earlier. The news came as part of its most recent quarterly earnings report, in which Disney earned a net income of $1.15 billion on revenues of $21.8 billion.

“We’ve had a very strong start to the fiscal year, with a significant rise in earnings per share, record revenue and operating income at our domestic parks and resorts, the launch of a new franchise with Encanto, and a significant increase in total subscriptions across our streaming portfolio to 196.4 million, including 11.8 million Disney+ subscribers added in the first quarter,” Walt Disney CEO Bob Chapek said. “This marks the final year of The Walt Disney Company’s first century, and performance like this coupled with our unmatched collection of assets and platforms, creative capabilities, and unique place in the culture give[s] me great confidence we will continue to define entertainment for the next 100 years.”

Two-thirds of Disney’s revenues now come from media and entertainment distribution, but its direct-to-consumer business—from services like Disney+, Hulu, and ESPN—continues to lose money. That unit posted an operating loss of $600 million, up 27 percent, on revenues of $4.7 billion, up 34 percent.

“The increase in operating loss was due to higher losses at Disney+, and to a lesser extent, ESPN+, partially offset by improved results at Hulu,” the firm explained. “Lower results at Disney+ reflected higher programming and production, marketing and technology costs, partially offset by an increase in subscription revenue. Higher subscription revenue was due to subscriber growth and increases in retail pricing. The increases in costs and subscribers reflected growth in existing markets and to a lesser extent, expansion to new markets.”

In addition to its 130 million Disney+ subscribers, the firm now has 21.3 million ESPN+ subscribers, up 76 percent, and 45.3 million Hulu subscribers, up 15 percent. Most Hulu subscribers—41 million of them—subscribe to the streaming video service only, and not to the version with live TV services. But Hulu’s average monthly revenue per subscriber, $12.96, is much higher than that of Disney+ ($6.68) or ESPN+ ($5.16).

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Comments (6)

6 responses to “Disney+ Now Has 130 Million Subscribers”

  1. lvthunder

    I wonder how long it's going to be before these streaming services have to make money.

    • bluvg

      If average revenue is $6.68/user/month, I guess many people are getting discounted rates? With 130M+ subscribers, they'd only need to make ~$5/user/year to make up for that $600M loss.

      • Jogy

        It depends on how much it costs to produce all the content to keep all those subscribers.

        The article states that for all the services, the revenue is $4.7 billion, with loss of $600 million - that would mean the expenses were $5.3 billion.

      • jgraebner

        The losses at Disney+ and other streaming networks is all about content. They are generally running at intentional losses right now in order to build up content libraries that will attract large subscriber numbers.


        Keep in mind that a paper loss isn't necessarily the full picture of profits. Something like "The Mandalorian" becomes a valuable asset and brings in revenue that isn't likely part of the accounting for Disney+ itself. Basically, the cost of the production would be on that D+ profit/loss ledger, but all that Baby Yoda merchandise would likely be on the Consumer Products side.

  2. mike2thel73

    I had a 3 month special Disney bundle (all 3) for 11.99 end. I paid for ESPN+ for a year and getting a discounted Hulu rate for $2.99 a month for 6 months. Disney+ for me does not have enough new original programming for me to keep paying for it. For those with children Disney + is great but if you're an adult who's seen all the marvel & star wars movies and shows it's not worth it.

  3. jgraebner

    It is weird that the investment community, in particular, doesn't seem to understand that the key to subscriber growth and retention on these services is content. During the quarter when the only new Star Wars and Marvel content was animated and Disney's theatrical releases were still largely on hold, growth on Disney+ slowed. When they have "Hawkeye", "The Book of Boba Fett" and major movies like "Shang-Chi", "Eternals", "Jungle Cruise", "Cruella" and "Encanto", all of a sudden the service is growing again.


    This isn't really rocket science...