Disney+ ends 2020 with 94.9 million subscribers

Thursday, February 11th, 2021 
Walt Disney Company logo

BURBANK, Calif. — The Walt Disney Company (NYSE: DIS) today reported earnings for its first fiscal quarter ended January 2, 2021.

Direct-to-Consumer

Direct-to-Consumer revenues for the quarter increased 73% to $3.5 billion and operating loss decreased from $1.1 billion to $466 million. The decrease in operating loss was due to improved results at Hulu, and to a lesser extent, at Disney+ and ESPN+.

The following table presents the number of paid subscribers(1) (in millions) for Disney+, ESPN+ and Hulu as of:

                 January 2  December 28
                      2021         2019  Change
---------------  ---------  -----------  ------
Disney+ (3)           94.9         26.5   >100%
ESPN+                 12.1          6.6     83%
Hulu
 SVOD Only            35.4         27.2     30%
 Live TV + SVOD        4.0          3.2     25%
Total Hulu            39.4         30.4     30%

The increase at Hulu was due to subscriber growth and increased advertising revenues driven by higher impressions, partially offset by an increase in programming and production costs due to higher subscriber-based fees for programming the live television service.

The improvement at Disney+ was driven by an increase in subscribers, partially offset by higher programming and production cost amortization and increased marketing and technology costs. The increases in subscribers and costs reflected the ongoing expansion of Disney+ including launching in additional markets. The current quarter included three months of Disney+ operations whereas the prior-year quarter included two months.

Higher results at ESPN+ were driven by subscriber growth, partially offset by higher sports programming costs.

The following table presents the average monthly revenue per paid subscriber(2) for the quarter ended:

                 January 2  December 28
                      2021         2019  Change
---------------  ---------  -----------  ------
Disney+ (3)(4)       $4.03        $5.56   (28)%
ESPN+ (5)            $4.48        $4.44      1%
Hulu
 SVOD Only          $13.51       $13.15      3%
 Live TV + SVOD     $75.11       $59.47     26%

The average monthly revenue per paid subscriber for Disney+ decreased from $5.56 to $4.03 due to the launch of Disney+ Hotstar.

The average monthly revenue per paid subscriber for ESPN+ increased from $4.44 to $4.48 due to an increase in retail pricing, partially offset by a higher mix of subscribers to the bundled offering available in the U.S.

The average monthly revenue per paid subscriber for the Hulu SVOD Only service increased from $13.15 to $13.51 due to higher per-subscriber advertising revenue, a lower mix of wholesale subscribers and an increase in per-subscriber premium and feature add-on revenue. These increases were partially offset by a higher mix of subscribers to the bundled offering. The average monthly revenue per paid subscriber for the Hulu Live TV + SVOD service increased from $59.47 to $75.11 due to increases in retail pricing, higher per-subscriber advertising revenue and an increase in per-subscriber premium and feature add-on revenue. These increases were partially offset by a higher mix of subscribers to the bundled offering.

1. A subscriber for which we recognized subscription revenue. A subscriber ceases to be a paid subscriber as of their effective cancellation date or as a result of a failed payment method. A subscription bundle is considered a paid subscriber for each service included in the bundle. Subscribers include those who receive the service through wholesale arrangements in which we receive a fee for the distribution of Disney+ to each subscriber to an existing content distribution tier. When we aggregate the total number of paid subscribers across our direct-to-consumer services, whether acquired individually, through a wholesale arrangement or via the bundle, we refer to them as paid subscriptions.
2. Revenue per paid subscriber is calculated based upon the average of the monthly average paid subscribers for each month in the period. The monthly average paid subscribers is calculated as the sum of the beginning of the month and end of the month paid subscriber count, divided by two. Disney+ average monthly revenue per paid subscriber is calculated using a daily average of paid subscribers for the period. The average revenue per subscriber is net of discounts offered on bundled services. The bundled discount is allocated to each service based on the relative retail price of each service on a standalone basis. In general, wholesale arrangements have a lower average monthly revenue per paid subscriber than subscribers that we acquire directly or through third party platforms like Apple.
3. Disney+ Hotstar launched on April 3, 2020 and September 5, 2020 in India and Indonesia, respectively, (as a conversion of the preexisting Hotstar service) and is included in the number of paid subscribers and average monthly revenue per paid subscriber. The average monthly revenue per paid subscriber for Disney+ Hotstar is significantly lower than the average monthly revenue per paid subscriber for Disney+ in other markets.
4. Excludes Premier Access revenue.
5. Excludes Pay-Per-View revenue.

Links: Walt Disney Company