Walt Disney Co. makes big updates to Disney+ streaming service
Disney’s hit streaming service is to undergo a number of updates
The flagship Disney+ streaming service will have its price increased by 38%, as part of a wider strategy to create more revenue for the project.
In addition, Disney will roll out a version of the streaming service which features advertisements, reportedly on December 8, 2022. The ad-free version of the service will have its price increased to $11 a month.
Disney moves to boost subscribers and revenue
By offering users with more options, the ad-supported version of Disney+ is intended to increase subscribers and drive up revenue. The company has claimed it sold $9 billion (approx. €8.69 billion) for the forthcoming TV season. 40% of that will apparently go to online offerings.
Disney+ subscribers will be automatically on boarded to the ad-supported variant of the streaming service. This is unless they opt in to the commercial-free service at a higher price.
Additionally, prices for certain packages that include other streaming services such as Hulu and ESPN+ will also increase. The Disney Plus Bundle, which features Hulu with ads, and Disney+ and ESPN Plus with no ads, will increase from $13.99 to $14.99 a month.
Disney reportedly welcomed 14.4 million new subscribers to Disney+ in the third quarter of 2022. This is notable, as it outperformed estimates from analysts that the service would reach 9.8 million new subscribers.
After the announcement was made, shares in Disney increased up to 7.1% to $120.40 (approx. €116.31) in extended trading.
Positive predictions for the future of Disney’s streaming service
Chief financial officer Christine McCarthy reportedly informed investors that the company expects between 135 million and 165 million “core” Disney+ customers, and as many as 80 million customers for the Disney+ Hotstar product in India by the end of fiscal 2024. Disney+ is expected to be profitable in the 2024 fiscal year.
Disney+ was launched in November 19, and it features films and TV shows from the world’s largest entertainment company, as well as content from landmark entertainment brands Marvel and Star Wars.
Disney’s decision to increase the pricing of its streaming services mirrors similar models implemented by other companies. Hulu will also increase its price on October 10, with the pricing for U.S. customers going from $6.99 to $7.99 a month for a basic subscription, and from $12.99 to $14.99 a month for the ad-free version.
Recent successes on the streaming platform include ‘Prey’ and ‘Star Wars: The Mandalorian’.
Disney records generous profits as streaming surges
Disney’s portfolio of streaming services boasts a total subscription number of 221 million users around the world. The company also released figures that showed a profit jump by 50%, although this was driven largely by the success of its theme parks.
Disney’s theme parks division reported quarterly revenue of $7.4 billion (approx. €7.16 billion) for the third quarter of 2022. That is up around 58% from the $4.3 billion (€4.16 billion) reported for the same time period a year earlier. ‘Strong demand for theme-park vacations — despite economists’ worries about an inflation-led downturn in consumer spending — powered Disney’s increase in profitability”, reported the New York Times.
Groupwatch: the Plus feature users may not know about
With upcoming changes to Disney+, it is important that users do not miss out on the Groupwatch feature on the streaming service. The feature is available for customers in the U.S., UK, as well as other regions around the world.
Groupwatch lets users host a group viewing of a movie, TV show or musical. Up to eight Disney+ subscribers can participate in group viewings, and users can enjoy up to four streams on a Groupwatch from the same account.