Its Weakest Quarterly Subscriber Growth Since Launch Reported By Disney+

The least growth in memberships in Disney+ since the video streaming services was launched by Walt Disney Co to compete with Netflix Inc was reported on Wednesday by the company. The numbers reported by the company were much lower than expectations of Wall Street projections.

The announcement resulted in the stocks of the company going down by 5 per cent in after the bell trading.  

Despite the latest completed quarter being the first since the pandemic began when all of the company’s theme parks remained open, the profits reported by Disney for its theme park segment was significantly lower than what the market was expecting. Capacity restrictions are still in force.

The issues faced by the company because of the pandemic were underscored in the company’s less than expected performance in both the theme parks and its video streaming business., There are still questions regarding how and when customers will be able to completely return to arenas of public entertainment, as well as if this would curb their tendency to watch videos and entertainment programs at home through video streaming.

In order to boost streaming subscriptions next year, Disney is counting on new programmes. The opening up of its borders to many immunized overseas passengers by the United States and a large chunk of children in the US receiving the Covid-19 vaccination is expected to help the business of Disney’s theme parks.

Disney+ attracted 2.1 million new paid subscribers in its most recently completed quarter, which was lower by more than 50 per cent compared to what Netflix added during the same time period.

According to Factset projections, analysts expected Disney+ to attract 10.2 million subscribers.

During a conference call with analysts, the previous prediction of the company of having 230 million to 260 million Disney+ customers by the end of fiscal 2024 was reiterated by the company’s Chief Executive Bob Chapek.

Haris Anwar, an analyst at Investing.com however believes that many investors do not believe that those projections will be achieved by Disney.

“The company seems to be hitting a roadblock when it comes to subscriber growth for its streaming service,” Anwar said. “Investors feel the company could miss its target of reaching 260 million subscribers by 2024, creating doubts that its service can create a serious challenge for the market leader, Netflix.”

Disney+ had 118.1 million paying customers as of early October. The company’s streaming users reached 179 million, including subscribers of Hulu and ESPN+.

During the reporting, a diverse lineup of in-development streaming programs was shown off by the company. From July through September of next year, most of the major titles from Disney, Marvel, and Star Wars will be available on Disney+, according to Chapek.

“This represents the beginning of the surge of new content shared last December,” he said.

Disney also views new preschool content as a way to attract additional subscribers and is investing in it, according to Chapek.

As the firm paid for new TV series and movies, marketing, and other expenses, Disney’s streaming media branch, known as direct to consumer, continued to lose money. In the third quarter, the business recorded a $630 million operating deficit.

The number of people visiting Disney parks in the United States increased, as did their expenditure. According to Disney Chief Financial Officer Christine McCarthy, the company does not expect a “significant rebound” in overseas visitors to U.S. parks until the end of 2022.

(Adapted from NDTV.com)

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