Disney is anticipating its subscriber count to fall tens of millions short of its 2024 target for Disney+ following a series of price hikes for the streaming service, according to a report.
Citing anonymous sources, Bloomberg News reported late Thursday that the Mouse House won’t hit its goal of 215 million to 245 million subscribers, which was set in August 2022 by then-CEO Bob Chapek.
Although Disney has never explicitly stated the expected shortfall, in February, returning CEO Bob Iger said the company would no longer provide subscriber forecasts, matching Netflix’s recent decision.
Sources said the subscriber miss is due to the fact that Disney+ — home of “The Mandalorian,” “Bluey” and “Ahsoka” — has been losing customers to price increases as well as falling demand in India after the company failed to win cricket streaming rights.
In August, the company finished its fiscal third quarter with 146.1 million Disney+ subscribers.
Lately, Wall Street has shifted its focus from the number of new subscribers to streaming services to profitability, and Disney has made sure to narrow its losses in its streaming unit by hundreds of millions of dollars in recent quarters, as a result.
Iger has achieved that through price increases at Disney+ recently in an effort to hit profitability in the division as early as next year.
Disney increased the monthly cost of ad-free Disney+ by $3, or roughly 27%, to almost $14. The cost of ad-free Hulu will likewise rise $3 to almost $18 — a 20% hike that will make it more expensive than the most popular ad-free tier at Netflix.
At the same time, the company continues to try to grow Disney+’s customer base. After a protracted battle, Disney cut a deal with Charter, the second-largest US cable provider, to package Disney+ with Spectrum TV service, adding millions of new customers. Disney will receive a reduced, wholesale price for those subscribers.
Elsewhere, the Mouse House is quietly looking for ways to get rid of parts of the business that are growing slower, such as its TV network, ABC, which is known for shows like “20/20,” “The View” and “Dancing with the Stars.”
Meanwhile, Disney is quietly looking for ways to get rid of parts of the business that are growing slower, such as its TV network, ABC, which is known for shows like “20/20,” “The View” and “Dancing with the Stars.”
Bloomberg reported Thursday that Disney has held preliminary talks with local TV station giant Nexstar, as well as Weather Channel boss, Byron Allen, an unlikely buyer for the asset.
But sources told The Post that a deal is far off and that many entities are sniffing around Disney for a crack at ABC.
“Everyone is talking to Disney,” a source close to the situation said. “It’s way too early for a deal.”