Disney says it has more streaming customers than Netflix

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The Walt Disney Co. said its three main streaming services — Disney+, ESPN+ and Hulu — have grown their subscriber numbers to more than 235 million as of October 1, or above Netflix’s 223 million subscribers

Disney, which on Tuesday reported its latest quarterly results, said Disney+ added 12.1 million customers in the most recent quarter, while ESPN+ added 7 million subscribers and Hulu added 3.4 new accounts. 

Disney and Netflix are locked in a battle for viewers, with both working on lower-priced ad-supported tiers to compete for cost-conscious consumers. While Netflix debuted its ad-supported network this month, Disney+ will roll out its own version on December 8. 

“Disney+’s ad-supported tier is going to be a game changer for its subscriber and revenue growth,” said Jamie Lumley, analyst at Third Bridge, in an email. “Its launch can’t come soon enough.”

At the same time, Disney has grown its customer base with “family-friendly features and franchises,” Lumley added. “The big question from a content perspective is whether Disney+ will expand to more adult-focused entertainment and how it will approach this without impacting its traditional brand.”

Revenue grew 9% to $20.15 billion from $18.53 billion, falling short of analysts’ expectations of $21.27 billion.

Shares in Disney, which is based in Burbank, California, fell $6.15, or 6.2%, to $93.75 in after-hours trading.

CEO Bob Chapek said the company still expects the money-losing Disney+ service to be profitable in 2024 “assuming we do not see a meaningful shift in the economic climate.”

—With reporting by the Associated Press.

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