In what is another indication of the difficulty for streaming services to compete at the moment, Disney reportedly expects to miss its self-imposed Disney Plus subscriber target by tens of millions.
Disney Plus launched in November of 2019 and very quickly amassed a huge number of subscribers. While that subscriber base continued to grown over the year since, Disney Plus has recently been losing subscribers.
Disney Plus lost more than 2 million subscribers in the last three months of 2022. This was then followed by another loss of around 4 million subscribers during the first calendar quarter of 2023, and a loss of 11.7 million during the second calendar quarter of this year.
With these losses in mind, it now looks as though Disney is reevaluating how it expects the service to continue to perform in the near future. Specifically, Bloomberg reports that Disney “expects to fall tens of millions of subscribers short” of its 2024 target.
In 2022, that target set by Disney was to reach between 215 million and 245 million subscribers by the end of the company’s fiscal 2024 (October 1st, 2024). However, that target itself was revised from an early target of between 230 million and 260 million.
Very recently, Disney has taken a more aggressive approach to attracting new Disney Plus subscribers. During its dispute with Charter, the company encouraged affected customers to sign up to Hulu Live TV (which includes Disney Plus) instead. In fact, that dispute ended with a deal that will see Spectrum customers gaining access to Disney Plus, a move which will presumably increase the number of people using Disney’s streaming service.
Disney also recently dropped the price of a Disney Plus subscription down to just $1.99 a month for the first three months, in what seems like another proactive move to increase subscribers before the next price increase takes effect next month.
At last count, Disney Plus ended calendar Q2 2023 with just over 146 million global subscribers. Considering how far that number is off the 215-245 million target set out in 2022, and the current difficulties in the streaming industry as a whole, it makes sense that Disney might not now expect to reach its subscriber goal in the next 12 months.