Disney+ Tops Subscriber Expectations

Disney+ has topped its subscriber expectations for the third fiscal quarter of 2021. Disney+ [...]

Disney+ has topped its subscriber expectations for the third fiscal quarter of 2021. Disney+ reportedly pulled in 12.4 million new subscribers in Q3, bringing the worldwide subscriber total for Disney's streaming service to 116 million, as of July 3rd. Disney+ had been projected by analysts to have 112.8 million subscribers by this point, which means it not only topped those projections but did so significantly. If you haven't yet done the math: Disney+ had 104 million subscribers as of Disney's last financial report in Q2. Of course, there are some pretty clear factors for why the streaming service has gotten this sudden boom in subscribers.

Disney+ has been struggling a bit, as the streaming service started off 2021 struggling to meet subscriber expectations. Like just about every other major streaming service, Disney+ got a nice boom in subscribers during 2020 and the COVID-19 pandemic. However, that momentum was lost going into 2021; a month or two of new Marvel Disney+ series wasn't enough hype to keep up with services like HBO Max offering viewers same-day blockbuster movie releases.

disney plus logo
(Photo: Disney)

However, summer 2021 has been good to Disney+: First, The Falcon and The Winter Soldier and Loki Marvel series gave Disney+ strong momentum going into summer; the releases of films like Cruella, Jungle Cruise, and Scarlett Johansson's Black Widow movie on Disney+ Premier Access provided all the incentive needed for new subscribers to join the service and even pay an extra premium price for new blockbuster movies at home. Even Star Wars has offered fans the new Bad Batch animated series while they wait for The Mandalorian to return in 2022, or The Book of Boba Fett to arrive late this year.

Beyond the new content, to boost subscribers, Disney also got a financial boost, as this Q3 earnings are the first to reflect the price hike for Disney+, which went into effect in late March. Overall, Disney+ streaming and the return of Disney theme parks allowed the Disney corporation to take a 45% increase in revenue in Q3.

Still, even with all that good news, there are still some signs of struggle for Disney+. The average revenue per sub, per month, has been falling, dropping 10% to $4.16 as of July. Gains from Hulu (up 21%) and ESPN+ (up 75%) helped offset operating losses for Disney+, as higher costs for creating and marketing high-brand content eat into profits.

Disney+ first launched in the fall of 2019 and has since gained significant market share against rivals like Netflix and Amazon Prime Video. You can subscribe HERE.