The Disney+ streaming service saw its subscriber ranks jump by 12 million users compared to June, results showed on Tuesday, as the home to “Obi-Wan Kenobi” and “Black Panther” continued to defy a souring economy.
The gain beat analyst expectations, but the California-based group’s streaming services, which include Disney+, ESPN+ and Hulu, more than doubled their year-to-year operating losses to $1.47 billion for the July to September period, the results said.
The number of people subscribing to Disney+ reached 164.2 million people, more than the 161 million estimated by Factset, a data company.
But this was offset by the high financial loss for Disney’s flagship streaming service which is facing a wall of rivals, including industry leader Netflix and its 223 million subscribers worldwide.
Walt Disney Co. CEO Bob Chapek said that building the streaming business had required “significant investment,” and that the service was now suffering “peak operating losses, which we expect to decline going forward.”
Disney+, fast on the heels of Netflix, is about to launch a cheaper but ad-supported subscription offering to attract even more viewers but also diversify its revenue stream.
Disney’s version will launch on December 8 for $7.99 a month, while its basic ad-free subscription jumps to $10.99.
The company in August said that it hopes Disney+ will reach profitability in 2024 and is counting on upcoming releases such as “Black Panther: Wakanda Forever,” and “Avatar: The Way of Water,” to fuel its subscription totals.