Disney+ Subscriber Growth Isn’t Necessarily All It Appears To Be

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Disney had their investor call yesterday. One of the big take-a-ways from the 2022 Q1 discussion was how Disney Plus subscriptions went up over 11.8 million, blowing past expectations. This brought their subscribers up to 129.8 million after their big miss at the end of the 2021 fiscal year.

Of course everyone is touting it a s win and their stocks went up, but is it all it appears to be with other streaming services flat lining or dropping, like Disney+ did in the quarter before?

Not necessarily.

Disney did some pretty tricky things to try and get those numbers up and they aren’t necessarily things they can keep doing.

For one, they offered subscription deals back in that quarter including a 30% off the Disney bundle deal.

Which brings me to my biggest point. Disney changed their big Hulu packages to include Disney+ and ESPN+. Now it lists those subscribers are both Disney+ and ESPN+ subs too, even if they didn’t necessarily want to be. Then Disney can boast larger numbers on those other services, even if they are giving a larger price break to convince people to go along with it. For now.

That’s likely what happened here.

But unless they can actually deliver more content that fans want it’s likely going to stall out again. As the Information points out, they can only do this kind of thing once or twice and then customers will start to turn.

Disney does have some bigger Marvel and Star Wars titles coming soon, but I don’t think that’s enough to keep driving the subscribers. Even giving Pixar movies away to subscribers can only happen when there’s a movie ready.

They are going to run out of new territories to roll out in eventually to, although shutting down their Disney Channels or canceling deals with networks to carry Disney channel content to force fans to subscribe to Disney+ and HotStar does work but will also cap off eventually.

I’m interested to see where we are at come the end of Q2 and Q3. As an investor I want them to do well. As a customer I don’t want to see more price hikes and forced subscription changes.

But there is more to this than a sudden interest in Disney+.

What do you think? Comment and let us know!


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