Disney+ Powers to Nearly 138 Million Subscribers, Beating Streaming Expectations for March Quarter

Disney+ kept its momentum fully charged as the streamer easily topped Wall Street growth forecasts for the March 2022 quarter.

Disney’s flagship streamer gained 7.9 million customers in the first three months of 2022, to stand at 137.7 million, up 33% year over year. Analysts on average expected Disney+ to net 5.2 million new subscribers, per FactSet.

The results come after rival Netflix reported a loss of 200,000 streaming subscribers for the same period and forecast a 2 million drop for Q2, leading investors to fear a sector-wide slowdown after a pandemic-fueled surge over the last two years. Disney+’s strong gains dispell that notion and suggest that the Mouse House is stealing market share from Netflix.

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Overall, Wall Street on average expected Disney to post revenue of $18.91 billion and earnings per share of $1.07 for the quarter, which is Disney’s Q2 of fiscal year 2022, per Refinitiv data.

Disney’s Parks, Experiences and Products segment beat analyst expectations on the top and bottom lines, primarily on the strength of the company’s domestic parks business.

Looking forward, Disney+ is set for a big international expansion this summer, coming to 42 additional countries and 11 territories across Europe, West Asia and Africa. The latest phase of the streamer’s rollout will begin May 18 in South Africa.

In another bid to spur streaming growth, the media conglomerate plans to launch a cheaper, advertising-supported version of Disney+, initially in the U.S. in late 2022. Netflix is eyeing Q4 for the rollout of an ad-supported tier.

Disney also is banking on buzzy titles coming to Disney+ to draw in new subs and retain existing ones, like “Obi-Wan Kenobi” starring Ewan McGregor (May 27) and Marvel’s “Doctor Strange in the Multiverse of Madness,” expected to come to the streaming service sometime in July. As theatergoers returned to the multiplex, “Doctor Strange 2” raked in an impressive $185 million domestically over its opening weekend (May 6-8).

(Pictured above: Disney+ original series “Moon Knight” starring Oscar Isaac)

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