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Disney reports flat streaming growth, drop in TV channels revenue

Disney Plus and Hulu with Live TV each lost subscribers during the company's second financial quarter of 2023.

Disney Plus and Hulu with Live TV each lost subscribers during the company's second financial quarter of 2023.

The Alameda Avenue entrance to the Walt Disney Studios in Burbank, California as it appeared in 2016.
The Alameda Avenue entrance to the Walt Disney Studios in Burbank, California as it appeared in 2016. (Photo by Cool Ceasar via Wikimedia Commons, Graphic edited by The Desk)

The Walt Disney Company earned $14.039 billion in revenue from its broadcast television, cable networks and direct-to-consumer streaming services during the company’s second financial quarter of the year, representing a 3 percent increase compared to the previous year.

The company’s media-related income was the bulk of its revenue reported during the quarter, which was reported at $21.815 billion, about in line with Wall Street estimates. Despite losing customers across some of its core streaming services, Disney said its streaming-related revenue increased by 12 percent during the quarter to $5.514 billion, or about one-fifth of its overall income for the period.


Fast Facts

Disney Plus

Subscribers of Disney’s flagship streaming service, Disney Plus, dipped during the second quarter to 46.3 million, representing a 1 percent decline for the three-month period that ended April 1. International subscribers to Disney Plus grew 2 percent to 58.6 million, bringing its total subscriber count to 104.9 million. Including Hotstar subscribers, Disney Plus has 157.8 million streaming customers, a 2 percent dip compared to last year.

  • Disney Plus domestic: 46.3 million (-1%)
  • Disney Plus international: 58.6 million (+2%)
  • Disney Plus global: 104.9 million (+1%)
  • Disney Plus + Hotstar: 52.9 million (-8%)
  • Disney Plus total: 157.8 million (-2%)
  • Disney Plus ARPU, domestic: $7.14 (+20%)
  • Disney Plus ARPU, international: $5.93 (+6%)
  • Disney Plus + Hotstar ARPU: $0.59 (-20%)
  • Disney Plus ARPU, global: $4.44 (+13%)

Hulu

In the United States, Hulu grew its subscriber base by 200,000 customers to 48.2 million customers. Hulu’s video on-demand service had the bulk of those customers, with its subscriber count at 43.7 million. Hulu with Live TV dipped 2 percent to 4.4 million customers, attributed to higher subscription pricing.

On a conference call with investors on Wednesday, Disney CEO Bob Iger said the company will soon integrate Hulu content into the Disney Plus app, offering a unified experience for streaming customers domestically.

  • Hulu SVOD: 43.7 million (unch)
  • Hulu with Live TV: 4.4 million (-2%)
  • Hulu, total: 48.2 million (unch)
  • Hulu SVOD ARPU: $11.73 (-6%)
  • Hulu with Live TV ARPU: $92.32 (+5%)

ESPN Plus

ESPN Plus continued to grow during Q2 2023, with Disney adding around 400,000 more subscribers, a 2 percent increase. The total subscriber count to ESPN Plus was reported at 25.3 million customers. Disney said higher per-subscriber advertising revenue and a recent price adjustment helped increase the streamer’s average revenue per user during the quarter.

  • ESPN Plus: 25.3 million (+2%)
  • ESPN Plus ARPU: $5.64 (+2%)

TV channels (ABC, ESPN, Disney Channel, FX, etc.)

Disney’s linear networks revenue came in at $6.625 billion for the quarter, a year-over-year decline of 7 percent, as the company continues to deal with the effects of cord-cutting (consumers ditching expensive cable and satellite for cheaper streaming options) and a softer ad market. Domestic broadcast and cable channel revenue declined 4 percent to $5.6 billion as a result of higher sports programming costs and lower cable, satellite and ad revenue.

  • Channels revenue, domestic: $5.6 billion (-4%)
  • Channels revenue, international: $1.1 billion (-18%)
  • Channels revenue, overall: $6.625 billion (-7%)

“We’re pleased with our accomplishments this quarter, including the improved financial performance of our streaming business, which reflect the strategic changes we’ve been making throughout the company to realign Disney for sustained growth and success,” Bob Iger, Disney’s chief executive officer, said in a statement on Wednesday. “From movies to television, to sports, news, and our theme parks, we continue to deliver for consumers, while establishing a more efficient, coordinated, and streamlined approach to our operations.”

Shares of Disney fell below $100 in after-hours trading.

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About the Author:

Matthew Keys

Matthew Keys is a nationally-recognized, award-winning journalist who has covered the business of media, technology, radio and television for more than 10 years. He is the publisher of The Desk and contributes to Know Techie, Digital Content Next and StreamTV Insider. He previously worked for Thomson Reuters, the Walt Disney Company, McNaughton Newspapers and Tribune Broadcasting.
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