Disney streaming services, owned by The Walt Disney Company, have officially surpassed Netflix in the number of steaming subscriptions.
Disney+ which got launched in November 2019 mainly hosts content from various brands and banners under The Walt Disney Company. Movies and TV shows of brands such as Disney, Pixar, Marvel, and Star Wars are also hosted on the steaming platform with special recognition.
According to last quarter’s numbers, Disney saw an increase of 14.4 million streaming subscriptions, taking the total number to 221 million subscriptions. The industry experts and the market were expecting an increase of 10 million streaming subscriptions on Disney Plus due to the new releases on the platform.
A series on Obi-Wan Kenobi, a character in the famous Star Wars series, and a woman-oriented TV series named Ms Marvel had increased demand for subscriptions on the OTT platform.
While Disney was able to consolidate its market position with growth in subscriptions, American online streaming giant, Netflix, lost nearly 1 million subscribers from April to July 2022 period. At the end of the second quarter, the total streaming subscribers of Netflix are standing at 220.7 million.
Subscriptions vs Subscribers
Disney offers services on various platforms and counts its subscribers separately. These subscribers from various platforms are then put together to come up with an aggregate number, which the company calls “paid subscriptions”. If a person is a subscriber of Hulu Live TV, ESPN+ and Disney+, the company will treat it as 3 subscriptions.
The earnings report of Disney states that “When we aggregate the total number of paid subscribers across our DTC streaming services, we refer to them as paid subscriptions,”
Netflix on the other hand does not offer bundle services and thus reports its user base as subscribers.
The market considers ‘subscriber’ numbers to be more authentic than subscriptions, as subscribers are hard to get than subscriptions.
What happened to Netflix?
Netflix, which is currently headed by Reed Hastings and Ted Sarandos, has been facing immense competition from rival streaming platforms and a massive decline in subscriber base for the last few months.
In the first quarter of the current financial year, Netflix reported a decrease of 200000 subscribers in its user base. It was the first time, in 10 years, that the company reported such a decline in its user base. In the second quarter of the financial year, the production company was expecting a 2 million drop in its subscribers.
Chief Executive Officer of Netflix, Reed Hastings, said that the decline in numbers, being lesser than expected, was a respite. According to him, a lesser number of bad news is a good sign for the business in case of excitement among the team.
Answering a question regarding what could have stopped subscriptions from falling further, Reed Hastings said that it was ‘Stranger Things’. Stranger Things is an American science fiction TV series made with a flavour of drama and horror. The series which began in 2016 has a worldwide fan base.
Stranger Things which is distributed by Netflix released its 4th season between May 27th and July 1st 2022.
Along with Stranger Things, the momentous viewership of TV series like The Crown and Ozark also helped Netflix from losing more subscribers during the quarter.
Since the beginning of the Russian special military operation in Ukraine, Netflix along with major tech firms had decided to withdraw their businesses from Russia partially or completely. Stopping its streaming services in Russia resulted in a huge diminution of subscribers to Netflix, as the streaming company lost nearly, 700000 users from the country.
In between the crisis, Ted Sarandos of Netflix stated a few weeks ago that the company was planning to introduce a cheaper subscription tier with help of ads.
Disney+ also made an announcement this week that it would be coming up with a cheaper plan of subscription by December 2022 which would have ads in it. Media reports suggest that the cheaper plan with ads would cost nearly 7.99 dollars per month.