Helena Lyng Blak
1 week ago

Putting the Plus in Disney+: Disney Streaming Services Turn a Profit

Disney+ and Hulu have defied expectations and turned the financial tide in their favor.
Photo taken June, 2013 — Illustration by Murdocksimages
Photo taken June, 2013 — Illustration by Murdocksimages

On Tuesday, May 7, 2024, The Walt Disney Company announced its earnings for the second quarter ending in March, and it came with a surprise: The company’s streaming services Disney+ and Hulu actually turned a profit.

For Disney+, this was a first.

According to the New York Times, Disney significantly exceeded Wall Street’s expectations for the company. Forecasts had anticipated Disney’s flagship streaming service to lose over $100 million in the second quarter, but–clearly–it did not.

Together, Disney+ and Hulu achieved a $47 million profit in the most recent quarter, a stark contrast to the streaming services’ combined $587 million loss reported at the same time last year.

On its own, Disney+ gained more than six million new subscribers this quarter.

“Looking at our company as a whole, it’s clear that the turnaround and growth initiatives we set in motion last year have continued to yield positive results,” said Bob Iger, CEO of The Walt Disney Company. 

“We have a number of highly anticipated theatrical releases arriving over the next few months; our television shows are resonating with audiences and critics alike; ESPN continues to break ratings records as we further its evolution into the preeminent digital sports platform; and we are turbocharging growth in our Experiences business with a number of near- and long-term strategic investments.”

However, all is not sunshine and pixie dust in the House of Mouse. Despite the surprising success of Disney+ and Hulu, ESPN Plus, still struggling to find its ground, lost $65 million, pulling the overall streaming total into the red by $18 million. 

Despite surpassing estimates, Disney's earnings report seems to have failed to enchant investors. The company’s stock opened with a substantial tumble of nearly 10% on Tuesday morning, local time.

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