Disney+ paid subscriber count unveiled as earnings beat Wall Street's expectations

Since its Nov. 12 launch, Disney+ has gained 28.6 million paid subscribers, the company said

The Walt Disney Company disclosed its paid subscriber count for the Disney+ streaming service alongside solid first-quarter earnings on Tuesday.

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Disney+ had 28.6 million paid subscribers as of Monday following its launch on Nov. 12, CEO Bob Iger said during an earnings call. In an earnings release, Disney said the service had 26.5 million paid subscribers as of the end of the first quarter, with average monthly revenue per paid Disney+ subscriber at $5.56.

Disney reported adjusted earnings per share of $1.53, topping the $1.44 expected on Wall Street, according to Refinitiv data. First-quarter revenue was $20.86 billion, slightly outpacing expectations.

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“We had a strong first quarter, highlighted by the launch of Disney+, which has exceeded even our greatest expectations,” Iger said in a statement. “Thanks to our incredible collection of brands, outstanding content from our creative engines and state-of-the-art technology, we believe our direct-to-consumer services, including Disney+, ESPN+ and Hulu, position us well for continued growth in today’s dynamic media environment.”

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Disney shares ticked upward in after-hours trading on the earnings beat.

TickerSecurityLastChangeChange %
DISWALT DISNEY COMPANY118.04-5.32-4.31%

Disney+ is the company’s answer to rival Netflix, the streaming industry leader that has spent heavily on original content to stave off competition. Netflix reported more than 61 million domestic subscribers and 167 million global subscribers as of last month.

The Disney+ content lineup includes an array of movies and TV shows from the company's properties. "The Mandalorian," an original Star Wars series starring viral character "Baby Yoda," was the flagship program at launch.

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Iger said the ESPN+ streaming service had 7.6 million subscribers as of Monday. Hulu had 30.7 million subscribers as of the same day.

Disney's revenue from its direct-to-consumer and international segment was $4 billion in the first quarter. The company posted an operating loss of $693 million as it ramps up investments in Disney+.

Disney shut down its theme parks in Shanghai and Hong Kong following the outbreak of coronavirus in China. The virus had killed more than 425 people and sickened thousands more worldwide as of Monday, according to the Associated Press.

The closure of Disney parks in China will "negatively impact second quarter and full-year results," chief financial officer Christine McCarthy said. The company expects a combined adverse impact to operating income of $175 million from the two parks in the second quarter, assuming they remain closed for two months.

The full financial impact is "highly dependent on the duration of the closures," McCarthy added. Ongoing protests in Hong Kong have hurt hotel occupancy and attendance.

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