After missing its expectations for the first three months of the year, The Walt Disney Company’s streaming service Disney+ rebounded in the second calendar quarter of 2021, adding 12.4 million net new subscribers during the period and now totaling 116 million worldwide. This number beats Wall Street analysts’ expectations of 112.8 million for the period.
The company reported revenue of $17.02 billion during the quarter ending on July 3, 2021, which represents its fiscal third quarter. This number also beats forecasts, as some analysts were expecting Disney revenue to come in at $16.8 billion. The group also posted earnings per share of 80 cents, when analysts were expecting a per share value of 56 cents.
“We ended the third quarter in a strong position, and are pleased with the company’s trajectory as we grow our businesses amidst the ongoing challenges of the pandemic. We continue to introduce exciting new experiences at our parks and resorts worldwide, along with new guest-centric services, and our direct-to-consumer business is performing very well, with a total of nearly 174 million subscriptions across Disney+, ESPN+ and Hulu at the end of the quarter, and a host of new content coming to the platforms,” commented Bob Chapek, CEO of The Walt Disney Company.
While Disney+ subscriber doubled year-over-year, the company’s two US-only services also posted gains: Hulu subscriber-base grew 21% to 42.8 million, and ESPN+ increased 75% to 14.9 million. The trio of streamers had 173.7 million total customers at the end of the quarter, versus 101.5 million in the year-ago period.
At the same time, Disney’s Direct-to-Consumer revenue for the quarter jumped 57%, to $4.3 billion, and the segment cut its operating loss in half, to $293 million (versus $624 million a year earlier). The DTC group’s decrease in operating loss was due to subscription and ad-revenue growth at Hulu.
On the other hand, Disney+ recorded a bigger loss in the quarter, which the company attributed to higher costs for content, marketing and technology costs, partially offset by higher subscription revenue and early-access VOD revenue for “Cruella”.
Also on the earnings call, Chapek announced that Disney+’s launch in eastern Europe was getting pushed from late 2021 to summer of 2022. The executive said that the delay was occurring “primarily to allow for an expanded footprint that will include parts of the Middle East and South Africa” for the streamer, which first launched in North America and other parts of the world in late 2019.
We ended the third quarter in a strong position, and are pleased with the company’s trajectory as we grow our businesses amidst the ongoing challenges of the pandemic” Bob Chapek CEO of The Walt Disney Company