Disney on Wednesday reported that its Disney+ streaming television service lost more than 10 million subscribers in the recently ended quarter, in large part due to the Indian market. Disney+ finished the quarter with 146.1 million subscribers, compared with just shy of 158 million in the first three months of this year, the group said.
Rival Netflix recently reported that its subscriptions climbed by nearly six million in the wake of its crackdown on password sharing.
“Despite near term headwinds, I’m incredibly confident in Disney’s long term trajectory,” chief executive Bob Iger said on an earnings call. “Because of the work we’ve done, the team we have in place and because of Disney’s core intellectual property foundation.” Iger told financial analysts that streaming, film studios and theme parks will drive its growth in the coming five years.
All but a sliver of the loss in Disney+ subscribers took place in India, where the entertainment titan early this year lost rights to stream popular Premier League cricket matches. “It’s important to remember where we started and how we’ve adapted based on what we’ve learned,” Iger said of Disney+.
“We overachieved with massive subscriber growth for Disney+ out of the gate, and we leaned into a spending level to fuel subscriber growth.”
Disney will release details of upcoming streaming price increases late Wednesday, and will make an ad-supported Disney+ tier available in Canada and parts of Europe, according to Iger.
The loss of subscribers came as a potentially crippling writers and actors strike hits the US entertainment industry, threatening Disney’s ability to produce content key to the streaming service’s appeal.
“It is my fervent hope that we quickly find solutions to the issues that have kept us apart these past few months,” Iger said of negotiations with striking actors and writers. “And I am personally committed to working to achieve this result.”
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