Disney+ Sees Subscriber Growth Slow in Q1 2021

Despite the 2020 pandemic boom, Disney+ is seeing slowing subscriptions.

Both Disney+ and Netflix saw subscriber growth slow in the first quarter of 2021, no doubt a byproduct of the unexpected surge in new members last year during the rise of Covid-19. With the global pandemic seemingly winding down, it only makes sense that growth would taper accordingly.

According to a new CNBC report, Disney finished its most recent quarter with 103.6 million paid Disney+ subscribers, an increase of 8.7 million customers compared to the previous quarter and up from just 33.5 million total subscribers around the same time last year.

Analysts on average pegged Disney+ coming in at 109.3 million subscribers for the quarter, per research service FactSet. At its March 9 annual shareholders meeting, the company boasted that Disney+ had surpassed 100 million subs.

Overall, Disney+ missed analyst expectations by 5.7 million subscribers.

The continued but slower growth for Disney+ came amid the service’s first price hikes: In the U.S., for example, the SVOD package went up a dollar to $7.99 USD/month as of March 26. But it also came on the heels of a blockbuster fourth quarter that saw Disney+ grow by more than 20 million subscribers amid pandemic conditions.

The company’s other streaming platforms also managed respectable growth. ESPN+ finished the period ending April 3 with 13.8 million subscribers, up from 7.9 million a year ago, while Hulu reached 41.6 million subscribers, good for a 30 percent increase year over year. Among Hulu subscribers, only 3.8 million opted for the Live TV+ SVOD bundle.

Netflix, for its part, gained about 4 million global streaming subscribers as it saw an even more dramatic slowdown after a COVID-fueled boom 2020.

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