Disney+ Has 152 Million Subscribers, Ad-Supported Tier on the Way

Posted on August 10, 2022 by Paul Thurrott in Disney+ with 0 Comments

In tandem with its quarterly earnings report, Disney announced that its Disney+ streaming service now has over 152 million subscribers, up 31 percent from the 116 million it had one year earlier. The firm also revealed that it will soon launch an ad-supported Disney+ tier.

Disney reported a net income of $1.4 billion on revenues of $21.5 billion for the quarter ending July 2, 2022.

“We had an excellent quarter, with our world-class creative and business teams powering outstanding performance at our domestic theme parks, big increases in live-sports viewership, and significant subscriber growth at our streaming services,” Walt Disney CEO Bob Chapek said. “With 14.4 million Disney+ subscribers added in the fiscal third quarter, we now have 221 million total subscriptions across our streaming offerings.”

Here’s the math on that. In addition to its 152.1 million Disney+ subscribers, Disney ended the quarter with 22.8 million ESPN+ subscribers (up 53 percent) and 46.2 million Hulu subscribers (up 8 percent). If you add that all up, Disney’s total subscriber base, about 221 million, is identical to that of Netflix, the market leader.

Unfortunately, all three of those services are struggling financially, triggering an operating loss for Disney’s direct-to-consumer business: Disney+ and ESPN+ both posted higher losses than in the year-ago quarter, and Hulu suffered from lower operating income, Disney said.

“Lower results at Disney+ reflected higher programming and production, technology, and marketing costs, partially offset by increases in subscription revenue and, to a lesser extent, advertising revenue,” the firm explained. “The increase in programming and production costs was primarily due to more content provided on the service.”

As with other streaming services, Disney will bolster Disney+ with an ad-supported tier that will launch on December 8. It will also launch a “new and comprehensive slate of subscription plans across Disney+, Hulu, ESPN+, and the Disney Bundle, giving viewers ultimate flexibility in choosing an option that suits their needs.” With this change, Disney+ Basic (with ads) will cost $7.99 per month in the U.S., while Disney+ Premium (without ads) will cost $10.99. You can learn more about the pricing of Disney’s other services and bundles in the original announcement.