As Wall Street cools to scale as a primary measure for investors to judge Hollywood’s streaming race, Disney is revising its ambitious forecast for adding subscribers to its flagship platform.
The company has separated its streaming guidelines and now expects to reach 135 million to 165 million Disney+ subscribers by 2024. Plus, it expects Disney+ Hotstar subscribers to reach 80 million subscribers by the same year.
In the most recent quarter, Disney added 14.4 million subscribers to reach 152 million total worldwide subscribers, but that figure also includes Disney+ Hotstar, which is now distinguished in the guidance. Without Hotstar, Disney+ currently has 93.6 million subscribers as of July 2, meaning Disney+ hopes to have between 40 million and 70 million subscribers by the end of fiscal 2024.
The Hollywood giant had previously set a target of approximately 230 million to 260 million subscribers to Disney+ and Disney+ Hotstar by fiscal 2024 and that the streaming platform would be profitable by that year. As late as May, CFO Christine McCarthy said on an earnings call that the company is “confident in our long-term subscriber expectations” of that projection.
A major reason why Disney changed its target: customers in India. The company’s Disney+ Hotstar, which operates in India, Southeast Asia and other markets, had in recent years had the streaming rights to India’s most popular sport, Indian Premier League Cricket, having inherited the rights after it was on Rupert Murdoch’s 21st Century Fox. Closed. assets in 2019. When the streaming rights were auctioned off this year, Disney was not the winner (they went to Viacom18 for $2.6 billion). “We have chosen not to proceed with the digital rights given the price it will take to secure that package,” Disney international Rebecca Campbell said in June. As such, Disney+ Hotstar is not expected to retain the millions of customers who have subscribed to cricket.
Disney said it will spend up to $32 billion on entertainment content this year — cropped from $33 billion — with about a third of that amount on sports programming across platforms. (By contrast, Netflix is expected to spend about $17 billion on content annually over the next few years.)
A drive for streaming profits has also animated Hollywood executives recently this earnings season, spurred by Netflix’s July 19 revelation that it had lost 970,000 subscribers — which was good news for the company, as top executives had expected a 2 million hit. . With 220.6 million worldwide subscribers, on an earnings call, Netflix CFO Spencer Neumann described the process of “moderating our growth in content costs” in order to adjust “for the growth of our revenues.”
When Paramount released its latest results on Aug. 4, the Bob Bakish-led company touted nearly 64 million combined subscribers to services such as Showtime and Paramount+ worldwide, though leadership said streaming losses would be $1.8 billion for the year rather than previous ones. expectations of $ 1.5 billion .
Meanwhile, Comcast’s NBCUniversal division reported on July 28 that paid subscribers for streamer Peacock were stalled at 13 million and the company saw a loss of $467 million in the quarter, up from $363 million in the year-ago quarter.
And the Warner Bros. team. Discovery has made perhaps the boldest statements about looking beyond streaming to other revenue streams, as the company registered 92.1 million streaming subs for HBO Max, HBO and Discovery+. Amid a drive to find $3 billion in cost savings and balance debt obligations, WBD chief David Zaslav added during an Aug. 4 earnings call, “We’re not trying to pick up every sub, we want paid.”