Walt Disney edged past Netflix with a total of 221 million streaming subscribers at the end of the most recent quarter and announced it will launch a Disney+ option with advertising this December.
In the just-ended quarter, Disney+ added 14.4 million Disney+ customers, beating the consensus of 10 million expected by analysts polled by FactSet, as it released Star Wars series Obi-Wan Kenobi and Marvel’s Ms Marvel.
Combined with Hulu and ESPN+, Disney said it had 221.1 million streaming subscribers at the end of the June quarter. Netflix said it had 220.7 million streaming subscribers.
Last month Netflix announced it had lost another 1 million subscribers, the company’s first ever back-to-back quarterly loss of customers. Netflix too is planning an ad-supported streaming option.
The company announced that Disney+ with ads will cost $7.99 a month, the same price the company now charges for the ad-free version. The cost of Disney+ without ads will increase by $3 a month to $10.99 as of 8 December. Prices for Hulu, also owned by Disney, will rise by $1 to $2 a month depending on the plan.
In 2017 Disney staked its future on building a streaming service to rival Netflix as audiences moved to online viewing from traditional cable and broadcast television.
The world’s largest entertainment company reported profits of $1.41bn, as visitors packed its theme parks. Operating income more than doubled at the parks, experiences and products division to $3.6bn.
“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,” said Bob Chapek, chief executive officer.
Shares of Disney, which had fallen 28% this year, rose 4% in after-hours trading to $116.85.
Disney‘s streaming effort is still losing money, reporting a loss of $1.1bn for the quarter. That put a drag on the media and entertainment unit, whose profit declined by 32% to nearly $1.4bn.
News Source: The Guardian