Disney has quieted concerns over a faltering end to 2021 by returning to form in its Q1 2022 results, adding 11.8 million Disney+ subscribers.
The company suffered ignominy after failing to hit targets in the final quarter of its 2021 financial year, but the company beat estimates in Q1 thanks to strong parks performance and solid subscriber growth.
Overall, the company’s revenue rose 34% to US$21.82 billion for the quarter ended January 1. This exceeded analyst expectations of US$20.91 billion.
Disney+ is yet to hit profitability with an ARPU of US$4.41, but its subscriber count has grown 37% year-over-year thanks to international expansion and a high-profile content slate made up of titles like The Book of Boba Fett, Hawkeye and Encanto.
In total, Disney+ started 2022 with a global total of 129.8 million subscribers. This was made up of 42.9 million subscribers in the US and Canada (up 18%), with 41.1 international subscribers excluding the Star+ service in Latin America. Disney+ Hotstar, which operates in markets such as India, was at 45.9 million subscribers.
Speaking on Disney’s investor’s call, CEO Bob Chapek reiterated that the company is on course to hit its targets: “We continue to manage our services for the long term and maintain confidence in our guidance of 230 million to 260 million total paid Disney+ subscribers globally by the end of fiscal 2024.”
Encanto and its breakout #1 song ‘We Don’t Talk About Bruno’ in particular was highlighted by Chapek, with the CEO revealing that the film has been watched for more than 200 million hours on the platform.
When asked about the future, Chapek stated confidence that “we still have some headroom” to grow in the US, while Star has become well established as “the sixth brand tile within the Disney+ offering in Europe.” He said that the company is “bullish on the future of Disney+ both domestically and internationally”.
Elsewhere within Disney’s streaming business, ESPN+ continued its rapid growth, with subscribers increasing 76% year-over-year from 12.1 million to 21.3 million. Hulu saw more modest growth of 16% for its SVOD only offer (35.4 million subscribers to 40.9 million subscribers) while the Live TV + SVOD product only added 300,000 subscribers in the year to reach a total of 4.3 million.