Disney Subscriber Count Catching Up to Netflix

    • Disney saw a 45% year-over-year revenue increase, as theme parks reopened and Disney+ and ESPN+ subscribers saw impressive growth.
    • The return of live sports increased both revenues and production costs.

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Disney’s revenues shot up 45% year-over-year to $17 billion in its fiscal third quarter on the strength of theme parks reopening and a rapidly growing streaming network. 

The company’s media segment accounted for $12.7 billion, 75%, of that sum, with parks and products making up the balance.

The Mouse is speeding up to Netflix and its 209 million subscribers, with nearly 174 million subscribers between Disney+, ESPN+ and Hulu as of July 3. 

  • ESPN+ subscribers grew 75% from the same period last year to 14.9 million.
  • Disney+ subscribers doubled to 116 million.
  • Direct-to-consumer revenues grew 57% to $4.3 billion, though the segment still took a $300 million loss.

The pandemic weighed on the company’s revenues, as “higher advertising revenue from the return of live sports programming was more than offset by higher sports programming costs,” Disney noted, citing the NBA and MLB as the main drivers of its elevated broadcast expenses.

The company saw a similar effect in its international channels. The return of live Indian Premier League cricket matches fueled revenue growth of 29% year-over-year to $1.4 billion, but increased production costs shrunk segment profits 23% to $169 million.

Disney’s stock price rose over 5% in after-hours trading.