Streaming services were a hot topic at the Walt Disney Company’s Q1 FY22 Earnings Call, with a focus on the new subscriber growth to Disney+ and other Disney platforms both in the U.S. and internationally. Disney CEO Bob Chapek used the call as an opportunity to share detailed numbers on subscriber growth and upcoming goals, along with plans to sustain current subscribers to hit upcoming goals.
At the start of the call, Bob Chapek outlined a number of highlights relevant to Q1 FY22, including the addition of 17.4 million new streaming subscribers in the last quarter alone, with 11.8 million of those subscribers coming from Disney+ alone.
Streaming services are set to be at the forefront of Chapek’s multi-year financial goals for the Walt Disney Company, with the goal of reaching between 230 million and 260 million Disney+ subscribers by 2024. Of the 196 million total streaming subscribers reported on the recent earnings call, just over 130 million are Disney+ subscribers specifically with 45.9 million of those subscribers belonging to Disney+ Hotstar which reaches audiences in India.
Chapek continued to review the programming that has made Disney+ such a wide success, speaking briefly on current successful series and movies and creative goals for the future. Among the recent 23 Oscar nominations, Chapek pointed out the inclusions of Pixar’s Luca (2021), Walt Disney Animation’s Raya and the Last Dragon (2021), and Walt Disney Animation Studio’s Encanto (2021), which received three nominations alone.
In terms of Disney+ original series, Chapek stated, “In Q1, our studios took us deeper into the Marvel Cinematic Universe with Eternals and the Disney+ original series, Hawkeye, and returned us to that galaxy far, far away with another Disney+ original series, The Book of Boba Fett.”
Chapek also commented that the success of Disney+ is difficult to pinpoint to a single item or successful venture but rather is a combination of things: “Our success at Disney+ this quarter was not the result of any one item, but instead a combination of organic growth and powerful new content, our strategic decision to include the Disney bundle with all Hulu Live subscriptions, and new market launches.”
Looking ahead, the rest of FY22 will include multiple new series and movies arriving on streaming platforms, including Pixar’s Turning Red (2022), and Marvel’s Moon Night (2022), both making their Disney+ debut in March. Chapek also pointed out that by the end of 2022, Disney+ will have released two new Star Wars series with Andor and Obi-Wan Kenobi.
As for long-term goals for Disney+, Chapek commented on the subscriber numbers the Walt Disney Company hopes to reach within the next two years saying, “We continue to manage our services for the long term and maintain confidence in our guidance of 230 million to 260 million total paid Disney+ subscribers globally by the end of fiscal 2024.”
Finally, the earnings call touched on the decision to release theatrical productions on Disney+ either in place of theaters altogether or after a limited theatrical run. Perhaps responsible for some Disney+ subscriptions, as the cost of a streaming service is more cost-effective than theater visits for the whole family, or simply the result of some viewers still not feeling ready to return to theaters, Chapek commented on the success of Encanto:
This quarter, audiences proved us right as “Encanto” became a phenomenon within days of its arrival on Disney+ after families’ continued reluctance to return to theaters resulted in a muted theatrical performance. With outstanding music from Lin-Manuel Miranda, it became the fastest title to cross 200 million hours viewed on Disney+ and took social media by storm. People around the world expressed their fandom through their own content and conversation, and the “Encanto” hashtag has been viewed more than 11 billion times.
With Disney+ now leading many competitors and bundling the majority of new subscribers into packages that include access to Hulu and ESPN+, we are certainly interested in learning more of what’s to come for the popular Disney streaming platform. We will keep you updated here on Disney Fanatic as additional news comes out on Disney+ subscriber numbers, goals for the future, and of course, brand new content.