Walt Disney’s total DTC subscriptions all in totaled 221.1 million for the company’s fiscal third quarter ended in June. That was a big beat for Disney+ and its parent.
It also passed Netflix in total subscriptions. That streamer noted today that subscriptions and subscribers are not apples to apples. Netflix most recently reported 220.67 million total global subscribers. The main difference is Netflix doesn’t have bundles,.
Disney counts subscribers to SVOD bundles as one for each service included. (As in, subscribers to Hulu Live TV + SVOD offerings are counted as one each for Hulu Live TV + SVOD, Disney+ and ESPN+.) “When we aggregate the total number of paid subscribers across our DTC streaming services, we refer to them as paid subscriptions,” Disney’s earnings release says.
Disney will shed some subscribers down the line after losing a bidding war for streaming cricket rights in India, where a big chunk of Disney+ subs are based.
So the numbers may shift but ebb and flow shows just how volatile the streaming business is.
Netflix, the established leader, set off a wave of jitters with an unexpected loss of 200,000 subscribers in the first quarter of 2022 and warned of a potentially steeper loss for the following quarter of up to 2 million. When it came out with loss of just under 1 million subs — about 970,000 — that was viewed in part as a victory. It was the biggest sub loss in the company’s history (saved in part by fourth season of Stranger Things that was released in May).
The Reed Hastings and Ted Sarandos-led giant is also in the process of rolling out a ad-supported streaming tier.
Media stocks rallied today along with broader markets. Disney is up nearly 5% and Netflix is flat in after-market trading. Disney announced its quarterly numbers just after market close.