Disney+ added 11.8 million new subscribers last quarter to reach 129.8 million subscribers, Disney announced as part of its Q1 2022 earnings release, and said it is still on track to reach 230 to 260 million subscribers by 2024. The company’s quarter topped projections after adding just 2 million subscribers in the previous quarter.
Disney has broken down the streaming service’s global subscriber count by domestic and international categories. Disney+ has 42.9 million subscribers in the US and Canada and 41.1 million internationally. It also has 45.9 million subscribers to Disney+ Hotstar, which is a collaborative service offering between Disney and Star India’s existing streaming service.
The streaming service’s growth has surpassed Wall Street’s expectations of about 7 million new subscribers. It may also have eased investor concerns over the state of the streaming industry after Netflix’s poor quarter, which saw its slowest subscriber growth since 2015, with just 8.3 million new additions compared to an expected 8.5 million. .
As for Disney’s other streaming services, Hulu added 6.6 million new subscribers to reach 45.3 million subscribers and ESPN+ added 4.2 million new subscribers to reach 21.3 million. Total subscriptions in Disney’s streaming portfolio reached 196.4 million.
Disney stocks soared around 8% on news of the company’s strong earnings, which also saw its parks business recover.
Speaking to investors during the company’s earnings call, Disney CEO Bob Chapek said Disney+’s success during the quarter was largely due to a combination of organic growth and new content. In the last quarter, Disney+ released several big-name titles, including “Enchant”, “Eternals”, “Hawkeye” and Oscar-nominated “The Book of Boba Fett”. Chapek said the company has reached its goal of releasing a new title each week and that it plans to double that content goal.
Disney plans to spend $33 billion on new content this fiscal year to gain new subscriptions and continue the quarter’s momentum. Chapek also stated that the streaming service is still on track to reach 230 million to 260 million Disney+ subscribers by the end of fiscal 2024.
Additionally, Chapek revealed that the new Star Wars Disney+ series, “Obi-Wan Kenobi,” which picks up a decade after “Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith,” will launch on May 25. McGregor as the younger Obi-Wan and starring Hayden Christensen, Moses Ingram, Joel Edgerton, Kumail Nanjiani, Indira Varma, Rupert Friend and more.
Another Star Wars Disney+ series, “Andor,” is set to launch later this year. The series will see Diego Luna reprise his role from “Rogue One” as Cassian Andor. It will also feature Stellan Skarsgård, Adria Arjona, Fiona Shaw, Denise Gough, Kyle Soller, Genevieve O’Reilly and more.
The new Disney+ subscriber numbers come as the streaming service is launching in an additional 42 countries and 11 territories in Europe, the Middle East and Africa this summer. Notable new countries include South Africa, Turkey, Poland and the United Arab Emirates. Disney did not specify the exact dates when the service will launch in these new countries and has not shared regional pricing information, but it will likely do so in the coming months. Disney+ is currently available in 64 countries, including the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom.
Disney also revealed that it plans to more than double the number of countries where Disney+ is available to over 160 by fiscal 2023. The company plans to expand its direct-to-consumer streaming business to more global markets and is creating a new international content and Operations Group to help with that push.
Disney+ launched in late 2019 and has spent the last two years competing with Netflix, Amazon Prime Video, and a host of other streaming services. The streaming service has managed to stand out in the streaming space, largely due to content from Marvel and Star Wars.
As for ESPN+, Chapek revealed during an interview CNBC that Disney will bid for the rights to be the NFL’s Sunday Ticket. DirecTV’s contract as the exclusive provider of the NFL Sunday Ticket is set to expire after the 2022 NFL season and many companies, including amazon and litter, are in initial negotiations on an agreement. Chapek highlighted that sports programming is a key part of the company’s streaming strategy.