Whatever troubles are facing other aspects of Disney’s business, the company has had no trouble adding subscribers to its Disney+ streaming service.
The Disney+ streaming service had just belong 95 million subscribers at the end of the most recent quarter, the company announced Thursday. The service, which launched in late 2019, had just 26.5 million subscribers a year ago.
Disney+ had 86.8 million paid subscribers the last time it announced the number in early December, and had 73.7 million in November, on its first anniversary.
At the same time, Hulu has a total of 39.4 million subscribers for its subscription on-demand service and Hulu + Live TV, compared to 30.4 million a year ago. ESPN+, meanwhile, nearly doubled its subscriber number year over year, from 6.6 million to 12.1 million.
In the quarter, which ended January 2, Disney reported $16.3 billion in revenue, compared with 20.87 billion in the quarter the same period the year before, which came prior to the pandemic in the United States. Net income was about $29 million, compared with $2.1 billion the year before.
The company has continued to be adversely affected by the pandemic, which has caused its theme parks to be either closed or at reduced capacity in most parts of the world, while Disney’s theatrical exhibition business has continued to be hurt by the coronavirus.
“We have experienced disruptions in the production and availability of content, including the cancellation or shift of key live sports programming from fiscal 2020 into fiscal 2021, as well as the suspension of production of most film and television content,” the company said in the earnings release. “Although most film and television production resumed beginning in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2020, we continue to see disruption of film and television production depending on local circumstances.”
“We believe the strategic actions we’re taking to transform our Company will fuel our growth and enhance shareholder value, as demonstrated by the incredible strides we’ve made in our DTC business, reaching more than 146 million total paid subscriptions across our streaming services at the end of the quarter,” said Bob Chapek, the chief executive officer of the Walt Disney Company. “We’re confident that, with our robust pipeline of exceptional, high-quality content and the upcoming launch of our new Starbranded international general entertainment offering, we are well-positioned to achieve even greater success going forward.”
Near the end of the quarter, Disney announced a slate of more than one hundred new projects for the coming years, across its many properties, which will debut on Disney+ and in theaters, while also announcing a Disney+ price hike.
The earnings report was released less than twenty-four hours after Disney announced that actress Gina Carano, who had co-starred on the first two seasons of The Mandalorian, would no longer appear on that show or in any Disney+ properties after she was heavily criticized for offensive social media posts.
Stephen Silver, a technology writer for the National Interest, is a journalist, essayist and film critic, who is also a contributor to Philly Voice, Philadelphia Weekly, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Living Life Fearless, Backstage magazine, Broad Street Review and Splice Today. The co-founder of the Philadelphia Film Critics Circle, Stephen lives in suburban Philadelphia with his wife and two sons. Follow him on Twitter at @StephenSilver.