(New York) Entertainment giant Disney has seen another jump in subscribers to its Disney streaming platform, the flagship of its new strategy, putting even more pressure on Netflix, whose growth is stalling.

Disney reached 137.7 million subscribers, up 33% year-on-year.

Between late December and early April, the Burbank (California) group gained 7.9 million net subscribers to its subscription video service.

The figure contrasts with that of its big competitor Netflix, which lost 200,000 accounts over the same period, when the platform had not seen a decline for more than ten years.

Disney expects Disney subscribers to increase in the April-September period compared to the first quarter of its staggered fiscal year, which was October-March, Chief Financial Officer Christine McCarthy said.

For its part, Netflix expects to lose two million subscribers in the current quarter compared to the previous one.

Within the video, cinema and television branch, online video services remain loss-making and posted an operating loss of $887 million in the quarter.

To stimulate the growth of its streaming platforms in particular, the entertainment company plans to spend a total of $32 billion on content, including sports, in its 2022 fiscal year.

Adding sports-focused ESPN and more adult-oriented Hulu than Disney, the group had more than 205 million subscriptions at the start of April, although some users subscribe to a package that offers all three services at a single price. low total price ($20 per month versus $28 in the US).

Chief Executive Bob Chapek said Disney is still targeting a range of 230 million to 260 million Disney subscribers by fiscal year 2024 (completed at the end of September 2024), which could put it ahead of Netflix, which currently has 221 million accounts.

He also expects to see streaming become profitable by then.

To accelerate its growth, the platform is counting on the launch of an offer with advertising by the end of the year in the United States, and in 2023 internationally.

Bob Chapek also indicated that Disney is already considering offering a streaming version of ESPN that contains all of the sports television network’s programming, and not just a limited selection as is the case with ESPN.

However, he clarified that the transition would not occur in the short term, because Disney still derives substantial revenue from subscriptions to ESPN via traditional cable and satellite television in the United States.

In total, the company’s profit came to $597 million, down 46% and well below analysts’ expectations.

Disney stock was down more than 3% in post-Wall Street electronic trading.

In the other major activity of the group, the parks, Disney more than doubled its turnover over one year (109%).

It was driven by attendance at Disneyland Paris, which was partially offset by declines in Hong Kong and Shanghai.

Spending per visitor is 40% above its level in the same quarter of 2019, i.e. before the pandemic.

From January to March, the parks generated an operating result almost equivalent to that of video, cinema and television, while they posted a heavy loss last year, due to restrictions linked to the coronavirus.

Financial director Christine McCarthy nevertheless warned that the resurgence of the pandemic and the confinements could cut operating income for the current quarter by $ 350 million.

The results from Parks as well as TV, Video and Film “prove we’re in a league of our own,” said Bob Chapek.

In total, revenue was up 23% year-on-year to $19.2 billion.

https://www.lapresse.ca/affaires/entreprises/2022-05-11/la-forte-croissance-de-disney-accroit-la-pression-sur-netflix.php

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