Disney surpasses Netflix in streaming subscribers, sets higher prices

Los Angeles, August 10 (Reuters) – Walt Disney Co (DIS.N) Overtaken Netflix Inc (NFLX.O) With a total of 221 million streaming customers, it announced it would raise prices for customers who want to watch Disney+ or Hulu without commercials.

The media giant will raise the monthly price of ad-free Disney+ by 38% to $10.99 in December when it starts offering new options that include ads at current prices.

Disney shares rose 6.9% to $120.15 in after-hours trading on Wednesday.

In 2017, Disney bet its future on building a streaming service to rival Netflix as viewers moved from traditional cable and broadcast TV to online viewing.

Five years later, Disney surpassed Netflix in total streaming customers. The Mouse House is the “Star Wars” series “Obi-Wan Kenobi” and Marvel’s “Ms. Marvel.”

Combining Hulu and ESPN+, Disney said it had 221.1 million streaming subscribers at the end of the June quarter. According to Netflix, it has 220.7 million streaming subscribers.

“Disney is gaining market share at a time when Netflix is ​​struggling to grow subscribers,” said analyst Harris Anwar. , there is still room to grow in the international market where we are adding new customers.”

To attract new customers, Disney will offer an ad-supported version starting December 8 for $7.99 per month, the same price as the current ad-free version, the company said.

Hulu prices increase by $1-$2 per month in December, depending on your plan.

The company on Wednesday lowered its long-term subscriber forecasts for Disney+ customers, citing the loss of cricket rights in India.

Disney is now projecting total Disney+ customers of 215 million to 245 million by the end of September 2024. This is down from his 230 to 260 million that Disney had predicted.

The adjustment stems from falling expectations for India, where the company is losing streaming rights to Indian Premier League cricket matches.

For the first time, Disney has estimated Disney+ Hotstar customers in India from the rest of Disney+.

Chief Financial Officer Christine McCarthy said Disney expects to add up to 80 million Disney+ Hotstar customers by September 2024, adding between 135 million and 165 million customers. said.

The company still expects its streaming TV division to be profitable in fiscal 2024, McCarthy said. In the most recent quarter, the division lost him $1.1 billion.

For the third quarter of the fiscal year ended July 2, Disney posted adjusted earnings of $1.09 per share, up 36% from the prior year. Analysts surveyed by Refinitiv had expected a profit of 96 cents.

Parks, Experiences and Products segment operating profit more than doubled to $3.6 billion.

Streaming losses dragged down the media and entertainment sector, where profits fell 32% to nearly $1.4 billion.

Overall revenue exceeded analyst consensus of $20.96 billion, up 26% year-over-year to $21.5 billion.

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