Disney Plus subscriber growth decelerates with 2.1 mn additions in Q4 2021

The streaming service saw growth in domestic and international markets except India.

Mumbai: Disney Plus added 2.1 million subscribers in the fourth quarter 2021 much lower compared to the previous quarter where it added over 12 million subscribers. The streaming service saw subscriber growth in domestic and international markets except in India (Disney Plus Hotstar) where the number of total subscriptions decreased.

The Walt Disney Company’s total subscriptions for its direct-to-consumer (DTC) business stood at 179 million including Disney Plus at 118.1 million, Hulu at 43.8 million and ESPN+ at 17.1 million subscribers.

The overall subscriber growth stood at 48 per cent on a year-on-year basis whereas for Disney Plus it was 60 per cent. The Walt Disney Company chief executive officer Bob Chapek affirmed that the company would reach its target of 230-260 million subscribers by 2024 and achieve profitability for its streaming service Disney Plus by then.

Beginning next year, Disney Plus will be doubling its slate of original content from its tentpole brands including Disney, Marvel, Pixar, Star Wars and Nat Geo. The company has 340+ local original titles in various stages of development and production and expects its total content expense to be about $ 8 to 9 billion by 2024.

While the company is not expecting linear subscriber growth on a quarter-on-quarter basis, it does expect to see an increase in subscriptions based on two factors – its expansion into new markets and increasing cadence of content during the third and fourth quarters of the year.

In two years, Disney Plus expanded across 60 countries in 20 languages. The streaming service expects a further expansion into 50 additional countries by the end of next year and reach a total of 160 countries by 2023. It recently launched in Japan and will launch in South Korea, Taiwan and Hong Kong on 12 November which is also Disney+ Day. It will continue to expand into markets like Central Eastern Europe, Middle East and South Africa in the future.

The direct-to-consumer business revenues increased by 38 per cent to $4.6 billion. The average monthly revenue per paid subscriber for Disney+ decreased from $4.52 to $4.12 due to a higher mix of Disney+ Hotstar subscribers in the current quarter compared to the prior year quarter. Disney Plus Hotstar subscribers account for 37 per cent of Disney+ paid subscriber base.

“As we celebrate the two-year anniversary of Disney Plus, we’re extremely pleased with the success of our streaming business, with 179 million total subscriptions across our DTC portfolio at the end of fiscal 2021 and 60 per cent subscriber growth year-over-year for Disney Plus,” said Bob Chapek. “We continue to manage our DTC business for the long-term, and are confident that our high-quality entertainment and expansion into additional markets worldwide will enable us to further grow our streaming platforms globally.”

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