Disney Plus hits 129.8 million subscribers, company says in earnings call

A theme-park comeback continued to boost Disney’s results in the most recent quarter. The company also added more subscribers to its Disney+ streaming service than analysts expected.

Disney had closed or limited capacity at its theme parks and suspended cruises earlier in the pandemic. Domestic parks have reopened, and revenue in that division doubled in the most recent quarter, to $7.23 billion.

Burbank, California-based Disney on Wednesday reported net income of $1.1 billion in the three months through Jan. 1, compared with $17 million in the fiscal first quarter the year before.

Earnings per share came to 60 cents, or $1.06 when excluding certain items, while revenue climbed 34% to $21.82 billion. Analysts polled by FactSet predicted earnings of 74 cents per share on revenue of $20.27 billion. Disney shares popped 8% to $159.08 in aftermarket trading.

Disney’s streaming business is its top priority as cord-cutting reduces the viewing universe for traditional TV networks, and investors have closely followed the trajectory of Disney+, which quickly picked up big subscriber numbers after launching in November 2019.

The company logged 129.8 million Disney+ subscribers, up 37% from the previous year, 11.8 million higher than the previous quarter and greater than analysts’ forecast of 125.4 million. Subscriber gains had slowed from earlier in the pandemic, with the fiscal fourth quarter pick-up of 2 million customers the lowest since Disney+ launched.

Some analysts have warned that Disney+ could miss its target of 230 million to 260 million subscribers by 2024.

The company has 196.4 million total streaming subscribers including Disney+, ESPN+ and Hulu.

While streaming is the company’s focus, Disney’s networks business still brings in plenty of cash. The division housing ABC, ESPN and FX made $1.5 billion in profit in the most recent quarter, down 13% from the year before, as production and marketing costs increased.

The Walt Disney Co. is the parent company of this ABC station.

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