Disney+ continued its rapid subscriber growth but Hulu + Live TV, the company’s leading virtual MVPD, took a step back during the company’s fiscal first quarter.
Hulu ended the quarter with 4 million SVOD + live TV subscribers, down from 4.1 million the quarter prior but still up 25% year over year. Hulu now has 35.4 million SVOD-only subscribers and 39.4 million total customers, up 30% year over year.
Despite the slight setback for Hulu’s vMVPD, the streaming service was a big contributing factor to improved results for Disney’s direct-to-consumer business. Segment revenues for the quarter increased 73% to $3.5 billion and operating loss decreased from $1.1 billion to $466 million.
Disney said the average monthly revenue per paid subscriber for the Hulu SVOD Only service increased from $13.15 to $13.51 due to higher per-subscriber advertising revenue, a lower mix of wholesale subscribers and an increase in per-subscriber premium and feature add-on revenue. The average monthly revenue per paid subscriber for the Hulu Live TV + SVOD service increased from $59.47 to $75.11 due to increases in retail pricing.
Disney+ is closing in on 100 million subscribers after ending the most recent quarter with 94.9 million. However, ARPU for Disney+ decreased from $5.56 to $4.03 due to the launch of Disney+ Hotstar.
ARPU for ESPN+, which ended the quarter with 12.1 million subscribers, increased from $4.44 to $4.48 due to an increase in retail pricing, partially offset by a higher mix of subscribers to the bundled offering available in the U.S.
“We believe the strategic actions we’re taking to transform our Company will fuel our growth and enhance shareholder value, as demonstrated by the incredible strides we’ve made in our DTC business, reaching more than 146 million total paid subscriptions across our streaming services at the end of the quarter,” said Disney CEO Bob Chapek in a statement. “We’re confident that, with our robust pipeline of exceptional, high-quality content and the upcoming launch of our new Star-branded international general entertainment offering, we are well-positioned to achieve even greater success going forward.”
Star is launching on Feb. 23 across Europe and Asia. The service will be added to the existing Disney+ platform in those territories.