While South Africans wait patiently for access to Disney+, Disney has announced that it now boasts 94.9 million subscribers.
This announcement means that Disney beat out its own goal of reaching 90 million. Even more impressive is the fact that, compared to Q1 2020, Disney+ added an additional 21.2 million subscribers in Q1 2021.
Disney’s other streaming properties, namely ESPN+ and Hulu, boast 12.1 million and 39.4 million subscribers respectively. While those numbers are substantial, it’s clear that Disney+ is a big attraction.
However, last year Disney introduced Disney+ Hotstar in India and Indonesia which offers access to Disney+ at a price that is “significantly lower than the average monthly revenue per paid subscriber for Disney+ in other markets” according to the company.
What this means is that average monthly revenue per subscriber has dropped 28 percent from $5.56 in the quarter ending December 2019 to $4.03 in the quarter ending January 2021.
Despite these losses, direct-to-consumer revenues clocked in at $3.5 billion for the quarter, an increase of 73 percent compared to Q1 2020.
But something that has knocked Disney, and many other companies is the pandemic.
While direct-to-consumer is going well, theatrical distribution was far lower than the year prior. This was of course because theatres were either closed or operating at reduced capacity.
What we do find interesting is that movie rentals were lower in this quarter.
“The decrease in home entertainment results was due to lower unit sales, partially offset by lower marketing costs. The prior-year quarter reflected the performance of Toy Story 4, The Lion King and Aladdin compared to no significant titles in the current quarter,” Disney said in its earnings.
The fact that Disney has hoarded its content has also not helped though “not helped” is in the context of billions. The House of Mouse reports that revenue from licensing content has dipped 56 percent to $1.7 billion.
We’re curious to see whether Disney shifts its thinking and starts licensing content again. That will depend on whether the licensing side of its business continues to haemorrhage money and whether the bigwigs are willing to c’est la vie to that portion of the business.
However, that is just one portion of its business and it’s likely more concerned with reopening its theme parks, getting theatres re-opened for theatrical releases and creating more content for its streaming platforms.
Perhaps the lower average subscription per user will prompt Disney to launch Disney+ in more countries. Countries like South Africa.