Disney+ Adds 14.4M Subscribers To 152.1M, Beating Forecasts; Revenue, Earnings Buoyed By Parks

Disney+ added 14..4 million subscribers, smashing past expectations for an add of about 10 million. DTC subs all in totaled 221 million for the company’s fiscal third quarter ended in June. The stock is up 6%.

Revenue and earnings also beat, driven by parks.

“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. With 14.4 million Disney+ subscribers added in the fiscal third quarter, we now have 221 million total subscriptions across our streaming offerings,” said CEO Bob Chapek. “We continue to transform entertainment as we near our second century, with compelling new storytelling across our many platforms and unique immersive physical experiences that exceed guest expectations, all of which are reflected in our strong operating results this quarter.”

There’s a lot going on — led by the new ad-supported Disney+ tiers the company just announced that is rolling out in December.

Execs are hosting a call at 4:30 ET, led by Chapek. The CEO’s contract was recently renewed through 2024, eliminating some uncertainty around the leadership but ratcheting up the pressure for him to guide Disney forward smoothly after a serious of PR missteps in a complicated economic, political and media landscape.

Early on in his tenure, in late 2021, Chapek promised flagship streamer Disney+, would reach 230 million-260 million subscribers by September of 2024 – the end of the company’s fiscal year. He also anticipated the DTC (direct-to-consumer) business including Hulu and ESPN+ would become profitable by then.

Along the way in June, the company was for the rights to stream India Premier League cricket, the most popular sporting event in the populous country — throwing into question more than a third of the total 137.7 million Disney+ subscribers. Separately, it also appears The Big Ten collegiate football games may leave ESPN, which has aired games since 1982.

The broader landscape has shifted as Netflix’ woes shook Wall Street in looking more closely at streaming – namely its very high content costs and uncertain path to growth and profitability. The newly minted Warner Bros. CEO David Zaslav last week was clear that WBD strategy is not about “overpaying and overspending” to driving subscriber growth at any cost.

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