In a nutshell: Disney continued adding subscribers to its three services during the last quarter, with Disney+ beating expectations thanks to the 12 million new subs it attracted. Despite the impressive figures, the company missed revenue expectations by almost $1 billion, but the imminent arrival of the ad-supported tier and exclusive merchandise store could help boost its future bottom lines.
For the final quarter of its 2022 fiscal year, Disney+ added 12 million new subscribers, pushing its total number of subs up to 164.2 million. The company will likely be pleased with the size of that increase, given it was only expected to add 9.5 million new subscribers.
Disney+ still has a long way to go before reaching Netflix and its 223.09 million subs, but the company boasts a higher total number of subscriptions than its rival when counting all three Disney streaming services. ESPN subscribers jumped from 22.8 million to 24.3 million, while Hulu was up one million to 47.2 million. That brings the overall total to 235.7 million, up from 221 million in the third quarter. It also beat the company's expected figure of 233.8 million.
This is the second quarter in a row where Disney recorded higher overall numbers than Netflix, though the latter has argued that Disney conflates subscriptions with subscribers—as in, one person could be counted as three subscribers if they have subscriptions to Disney+, Hulu, and ESPN.
One expectation Disney did miss was revenue. The $20.15 billion it brought in during the period ending October 1 was up 9% compared to the same quarter a year earlier, but Wall Street was looking for a 15% year-on-year revenue increase to $21.3 billion.
On December 8, Disney+ launches its ad-supported tier, which lowers the subscription price from $10.99 per month to $7.99. It will also offer packages combining Disney+, ESPN, and Hulu with ads. Netflix's ad-supported tier started last week and costs $7 per month.
Disney+ is also testing a new feature that allows subscribers to purchase Star Wars, Marvel, Disney Animation Studios, and Pixar merchandise directly from the detail pages of select movies, series and shorts, writes TechCrunch.
Disney+ continues to attract subscribers with original content such as Andor, She-Hulk, and more. Next year will see more new Star Wars and Marvel shows, and the service will become the international home for new episodes of Doctor Who.