Disney+ growth slows as streaming service reaches 118m subscribers

The numbers fell short of analyst expectations.
Disney+ growth slows as streaming service reaches 118m subscribers

By Keiran Southern, PA Los Angeles Correspondent

Disney has announced its streaming service has reached 118 million subscribers worldwide – but growth has sharply slowed.

Disney+, which launched two years ago on Friday, recorded its smallest quarterly jump in subscriber numbers since its inception, the company said.

The number of global subscribers fell short of analyst expectations but the service has grown by 60% from the previous year.

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Disney has experienced a slowdown in growth for its streaming service (Sean Dempsey/PA)

Disney CEO Bob Chapek had warned in September Disney+ subscriber numbers would slow, partly blaming pandemic-related delays in production.

In the latest earnings call, Mr Chapek said the company is “confident that our high-quality entertainment and expansion into additional markets worldwide will enable us to further grow our streaming platforms globally”.

Disney chief financial officer Christine McCarthy said she expected “meaningfully higher” subscriber gains in the second half of the fiscal year, which began in October.

Mr Chapek added he was confident Disney would meet its target of 230-260 million streaming subscribers by 2024.

Elsewhere, the executive addressed Disney’s approach to theatrical releases amid the pandemic.

The company has attracted controversy for launching its films simultaneously in cinemas and on Disney+.

It settled a lawsuit over alleged loss of earnings with Marvel star Scarlett Johansson following a hybrid release for blockbuster Black Widow.

Mr Chapek said Disney will remain flexible while uncertainty remains over cinemas amid the pandemic.

Netflix, the market leading streaming service, has about 209 million subscribers.

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