The battle between Disney and Netflix for subscribers is fierce, and for the first time, Disney has pulled ahead. Christopher Grimes reports for the Financial Times:
Walt Disney defied concerns about a slowdown in the streaming industry by adding a robust 14.4mn subscribers to its Disney Plus service in the latest quarter, pushing its total number of paying streaming customers to 221mn — slightly ahead of Netflix.
But Disney reduced its long-term guidance for its total number of Disney Plus subscribers due to its recent loss of rights to stream Indian Premier League cricket matches. Instead of as many as 260mn total subscribers by 2024, company officials now expect Disney Plus to reach 245mn, they said on Wednesday.
Disney stood by its goal of reaching profitability at Disney Plus by 2024, however. While Wall Street once cheered on as Disney and its rivals spent heavily on new streaming content to attract subscribers, investors are now focused on how the companies will reach profitability.
The streaming business lost $1.1bn in Disney’s third quarter, more than triple its loss of $293mn a year earlier.
Aiming for profitability, Disney said it would raise the price of its streaming services — which include Hulu and ESPN Plus — in the US later this year, a move that will coincide with new ad-supported versions of the services.
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