Earlier today Disney reported their financial results for Q4/2023, which is their fiscal Q1/2024. And I will make it short: anyone who hopes Disney will go bankrupt will have to hold their breath a lot longer. Disney actually beat expectations by Wall Street Analysts. Disney reported net earnings attributable to the company of $1.91 billion, which is $630 million more than in Q4/2022 (their Q1/2023). Overall revenue was flat compared to the year prior, $23.55 billion.
On the streaming front Disney is actually on target on reaching profitability soon, they have drastically reduced their streaming losses, they still lost $138 million with Disney+/Hulu, but a year before it was an astounding $984 million. They attribute this to higher fees and cost cutting measures. Click through for more.
That being said Disney+ lost subscribers, but higher fees and the ad supported service more than made up for that. In a next step Disney will crack down on password sharing, similar to what Netflix did a while ago. Compared to the year prior Disney+ lost 400k subscribers in the US and 900k subscribers in foreign markets, excluding India, which is dubbed “Disney+ core” by Disney. So the core service lost 1.3 million subscriptions in total. Which is certainly some reason for concern. It has to be noted that Netflix reported a growth of its subscriber base in the same time period and Disney+ keeps losing ground in the US, it has now fallen behind Amazon Prime Video even when it comes to overall market share. Netflix added about 30 million subscribers to their service in 2023, more than 13 million in Q4/2023 alone, so Disney+ is certainly underperforming, but still, financial losses are being reduced and it seems Disney may reach their profitability goals as planned.
Average monthly revenue per subscriber in the US is now $8.15, up from $7.50 the year before. However, international monthly revenue has declined somewhat, $5.91 vs $6.10 the year before. India is still an outlier, with an average revenue of just $1.28, but that is up $0.58 compared to the year prior.
All direct to consumer services combined (including ESPN, which lost a bit more than 100 million) lost $216 million, a massive decrease compared to the astounding $1.053 billion from the year before.
Still, it seems Disney+ will never be able to truly compete with Netflix, who now have more than 260 million subscribers worldwide, vs. Disney’s 149.6 million (including India).
Disney’s experiences segment, i.e. theme parks and consumer products, saw revenue growth all across the board, theme park revenue both domestic and foreign is up, only consumer products are flat. Overall the segment sees a revenue increase of almost $600 million to now $9.132 billion. Earnings show a somewhat different picture though, earnings for the domestic parks is down by a very modest 36 million, explained by somewhat lower attendance and inflation. But the international parks more than made up for it. Overall operating income is up, $3.105 billion vs $2.862 billion the year before. So the theme parks are doing just fine.
Things are, as expected, pretty bleak for “content sales and licensing”, i.e. the movies. Revenue is down by more than $1 billion for the quarter alone. Reason for that is of course the massive underperformance of The Marvels and Wish. Disney reports a loss of $224 million for that segment.
And that’s pretty much it. Disney, despite having a terrible year with its entertainment branch – and here the theatrical movies – is performing well, even beating analyst expectations. Streaming losses have been substantially reduced and it seems streaming could become profitable by the end of the year, the only cause for some concern is the dwindling number of subscribers (Disney is mostly treading water here) and loss of market share. It remains to be seen what role Disney+ will play in the future, i.e. if Disney will still put Disney+ first or if they will try to put theaters and physical home media first.
But anyone who hoped Disney may eventually go belly up or be seriously hurt will be disappointed.
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