Disney+ | Subscriber numbers fell as prices went up

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Disney lost over a million subscribers to Disney+ at the end of last year – but the price rises it introduced meant losses lessened.

At the end of last year, Disney – which is still going through quite a tricky time as a company – decided to make one or two changes to its streaming service. One was to introduce advertising, and number two was to increase prices for those who didn’t want to be watching ads.

As factual as the headline for this article is – and it is! – on a core business decision level, the strategy paid off. The price increments brought in Disney more money, and for the financial quarter running October to December 2023, the company only lost $300m on Disney+.

Huge amount of money to ordinary mortals. Change down the back of a sofa at Disney Towers.

Across the world, Disney lost 1.3 million subscribers to its service, the company has reported, during the final three months of the year. That’s not enough to offset the benefits of the price rise, and it still means that Disney+ has 111.3 million subscribers around the planet.

Furthermore, Disney appears bullish about where things are heading, projecting that by the end of March, it’ll have found another 5.5 to six million extra subscribers.

Disney+ has never made a profit for Disney, and in fact has left quite a hole in the company’s finances over the last few years. Still, the company is now sounding confident that it’s finally going to be in profit over the next year.

It’s got there with the aid of some pretty savage staffing cuts, and high-profile deletions of lots of its own material. In fact, it spent billions to remove its own work from its service, which is a pretty fascinating audit of where the modern business world has brought us to.

Still, Disney continues to invest in fresh films and TV shows, and continues to put movies in cinemas. If it could – as promised – properly reactive its physical media output, that would be a very welcome step forward too.

More on Disney+ as we hear it.

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