Disney Plus Subscriber Growth to Slow in September Quarter, CEO Bob Chapek Says

Disney Plus global paid subscribers will increase by “low single-digit millions of subscribers” for the quarter ending September 2021, Disney CEO Bob Chapek said — marking a slowdown from recent periods.

Sub growth in Disney Plus core markets (excluding Hotstar) will continue both domestically and internationally, “but we hit some headwinds,” Chapek said at the Goldman Sachs Communacopia conference Tuesday.

Chapek’s disclosure that Disney Plus will slow down in the current quarter, which is Disney’s FY Q4 2021, comes after the direct-to-consumer service rebounded in the second calendar quarter of the year and topped Wall Street estimates. Disney Plus netted 12.4 million net new subscribers to stand at 116 million worldwide as of July 3.

For Disney Plus, “the quarter-to-quarter business is not linear,” Chapek said. “What we are finding out, as you’ve seen from our last several quarters in terms of our earnings, is that these numbers tend to be a lot noisier than a straight line.”

Among the reasons for the Disney Plus slowdown for the September 2021 quarter, Chapek cited the impact of COVID-induced production delays. That said, he said, the COVID delays are “very short term.” Currently, Walt Disney Studios has 61 new movies and 17 series in production and the Disney TV group has hundreds of programs in production.

On Nov. 12, the media conglomerate is hosting “Disney Plus Day,” which will include a new wave of content being released and new promotional offers for consumers. “It will be this ultimate crescendo of everything that’s magical about the Walt Disney Company, and really starting to use Disney Plus as this companywide platform that goes beyond a movie service.”

The Mouse House raised projections at the end of last year for Disney Pus: It expects Disney Plus to have between 230 million and 260 million total paid subscribers by the end of fiscal year 2024.

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