Disney+ ends 1Q 2021 with 103.6 million subscribers

Thursday, May 13th, 2021 
Walt Disney logo

BURBANK, Calif. — The Walt Disney Company (NYSE: DIS) today reported earnings for its second fiscal quarter ended April 3, 2021.

Direct-to-Consumer

Direct-to-Consumer revenues for the quarter increased 59% to $4.0 billion and operating loss decreased from $0.8 billion to $0.3 billion. The decrease in operating loss was due to improved results at Hulu, and to a lesser extent, at ESPN+.

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

                April 3  March 28
                   2021      2020  Change
                -------  --------  ------
Disney+(2)        103.6      33.5   >100%
ESPN+              13.8       7.9     75%
Hulu
 SVOD Only         37.8      28.8     31%
 Live TV + SVOD     3.8       3.3     15%
  Total Hulu       41.6      32.1     30%

The increase at Hulu was due to subscription revenue growth and higher advertising revenue, partially offset by an increase in programming and production costs driven by higher subscriber-based fees for programming the live television service. Subscription revenue growth was due to an increase in subscribers and, to a lesser extent, higher rates driven by an increase in retail pricing for the Hulu Live TV+ SVOD service in December 2020. Higher advertising revenue was due to increased impressions.

The improvement at ESPN+ was driven by subscriber growth and higher income from Ultimate Fighting Championship pay-per-view events.

Results at Disney+ were comparable to the prior-year quarter as an increase in subscribers was largely offset by higher programming and production, marketing and technology costs. The increases in subscribers and costs reflected the ongoing expansion of Disney+ including launches in additional markets.

The following table presents the average monthly revenue per paid subscriber(3) for the quarter ended:

                April 3  March 28
                   2021      2020  Change
                -------  --------  ------
Disney+(2)        $3.99     $5.63   (29)%
ESPN+             $4.55     $4.24      7%
Hulu
 SVOD Only       $12.08    $12.06      —%
 Live TV + SVOD  $81.83    $67.75     21%

The average monthly revenue per paid subscriber for Disney+ decreased from $5.63 to $3.99 due to the launch of Disney+ Hotstar.

The average monthly revenue per paid subscriber for ESPN+ increased from $4.24 to $4.55 due to an increase in retail pricing.

The average monthly revenue per paid subscriber for the Hulu SVOD Only service increased from $12.06 to $12.08 due to a lower mix of wholesale subscribers and an increase in per-subscriber premium add-on revenue, partially offset by a decrease in per-subscriber advertising revenue and 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 $67.75 to $81.83 due to increases in retail pricing, per-subscriber advertising revenue and to a lesser extent, per-subscriber premium and feature add-on revenues, 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. Includes Disney+ Hotstar. Disney+ Hotstar launched on April 3, 2020 in India (as a conversion of the preexisting Hotstar service) and on September 5, 2020 in Indonesia. Disney+ Hotstar average monthly revenue per paid subscriber is significantly lower than the average monthly revenue per paid subscriber for Disney+ in other markets.
3. Revenue per paid subscriber is calculated based on 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. Revenue includes subscription fees, advertising (excluding revenue earned from selling advertising spots to other Company businesses) and premium and feature add-on revenue but excludes Premier Access and Pay-Per-View revenue. 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.

Links: Walt Disney