Disney+ continues to grow its subscription base and exceed expectations. In an earnings call, Disney shared that the streaming service had gained 12.4 million subscribers in its third quarter. This brings Disney+ subscriptions up to 116 million. It beat projections by Wall Street analysts that had the subscription service reaching 112.8 million.
The news came in contrast to the previous report which had Disney+ missing its targeted projections for the first three months of the year. This led to analysts lowering projections for the third quarter. In 2020 the streaming service saw massive growth due to people staying home because of the pandemic.
The subscription numbers also include the growth of Disney+ Hotstar. This is available in India, Indonesia, Malaysia, and Thailand. This is where the bulk of the growth came from. Hotstar now makes up for 40% of 116 million subscribers.
On the earnings call, Disney CEO Bob Chapek announced that the Disney+ launch in Eastern Europe had been delayed until summer 2022 from late 2021.
Disney Direct-to-Consumer segment has grown 57% during the quarter to $4.3 billion. The segment also cut its operating loss to $293 million. This is down from $624 million a year earlier. The decrease in operating loss came from subscription and ad growth revenue from Hulu. Hulu also made a profit for the first time in the quarter.
Disney+ did record a larger loss in the quarter due to higher costs for content, marketing, and technology costs. This was partially set off by the release of Cruella on Disney+ with Premier Access with its added cost.
Along with Disney+ doubling its subscriber count, Hulu subscriptions grew 21%, to 42.8 million, and ESPN+ grew 75% to 14.9 million. In total, Disney’s streaming services now have 173.7 million subscribers.