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Tuesday, Jul 5, 2022

Disney Reports Subscription Numbers, Shares Soar

At an investor conference Thursday, Walt Disney Co. announced its Disney+ streaming service has amassed 86.8 million paid subscribers since its launch a little more than a year ago, sending its shares up more than 13 percent.The Burbank media giant also announced numbers for its ESPN+ sports streamer, with 11.5 million subscribers, and its Hulu service, which has 38.8 million subscribers.Together, the three online platforms have 137 million customers.

Disney also announced the next steps for its streaming services, including an ambitious subscription target and planned programs.Ten Star Wars series, 10 Marvel series and 15 Disney live action, animated and Pixar features will be rolled out over the next couple years, Disney said during its Investor Day, in addition to content which was originally supposed to premiere in theaters or on linear channels.The decision to have theatrical content released on its streamer comes on the heels of Warner Bros.’ announcement that all of its 2021 releases intended for the theater will also appear on HBO Max.Disney reportedly has sights on 300 million to 350 million subscriptions for its direct-to-consumer services in four years.The numbers have bolstered Disney’s confidence to shift toward a “DTC-first business model,” Bob Chapek, chief executive of Disney, said in a statement.“We believe we are incredibly well positioned to achieve our long-term goals,” added Chapek.Overseas streamer Star+ will launch first as a part of Disney+ in Europe and other international markets in February. Disney plans to have Star as a standalone streaming service in Latin America as of June, to take advantage of the region’s portfolio of live sporting events.Starting March 26, Disney+ will be priced at $7.99 per month, or $79.99 per year; a bundle including its main streamer, Hulu and ESPN+ will be priced at $13.99 per month. Star+ will be priced at $7.50 per month, or the local equivalent, and $9 as a bundle package with Disney+.Shares of Disney (DIS) closed Friday up $21.09, or 13.6 percent, to $175.72 on the New York Stock Exchange.

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