As the coronavirus pandemic casts uncertainty upon Disney’s near- and mid-term financial results, the company’s direct-to-consumer and international business is soaring.
The segment’s revenues for Disney’s fiscal second quarter increased from $1.1 billion to $4.1 billion while segment operating loss increased from $385 million to $812 million. The increase in operating loss was due to costs associated with the launch of Disney+ and the consolidation of Hulu. The company said it also saw a benefit from the inclusion of the Fox businesses due to income at international channels including Star.
The segment’s earnings were also impacted by the full inclusion of Hulu since March 20, 2019. Prior to that, only Disney’s ownership share of Hulu results was included (as equity in the loss of investees).
Disney said Disney+ ended the quarter with 33.5 million paid subscribers. That was prior to several international launches for the service in Western Europe and India, which helped push Disney+ past 50 million subscribers in early April. CEO Bob Chapek didn’t mention a new subscriber total for Disney+ during his opening remarks on today’s earnings call but he did say that the company has been “quite pleased” with the growth it’s seen in the four weeks since then. He said Disney+ will begin rolling out in Japan in June, followed the Nordics, Belgium, Luxembourg and Portugal in September, and Latin America toward the end of 2020.
Disney CFO Christine McCarthy said Disney+ now has about 54.5 million paid subscribers.
Disney said the average revenue per paid user of Disney+ totaled $5.63 for the quarter. The company also said Hulu ended the quarter with 32.1 million total subscribers (28.8 million SVOD only and 3.3 million live TV + SVOD) along with $12.06 ARPU for SVOD only and $67.75 ARPU for live TV + SVOD. ESPN+ ended the quarter with 7.9 million paid subscribers and $4.24 ARPU, down 17% year over year.
Disney’s DTC business fueled much of the company’s consolidated revenue growth, which was up 21% to about $18 billion during the quarter. However, growth at media networks and studio entertainment also both helped offset the impact of coronavirus-related closures with Disney’s theme parks division. Despite the solid revenue growth, Disney’s total segment operating income fell 37% to approximately $2.4 billion.