Walt Disney Co (NYSE: DIS) stock rises on positive subscribers’ growth

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Walt Disney Co (NYSE: DIS) stock rose over 4.6% on 9th April, 2020 (as of 12:33 pm GMT-4; Source: Google finance) as the company reported paid subscribers of more than 50 million world-wide for its Disney+ service about five months after its launch in the highly competitive streaming-platform market. The industry analysts were not expecting Disney+ to reach 50 million subscribers until 2022, but due to the coronavirus lockdown measures, it has beaten those expectations.

Further, the paid subscriptions got a boost from its expansion in Western Europe and India. The service was rolled out in recent weeks in eight European countries, including the UK, Ireland, France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Austria, and Switzerland. Disney+ has became available last week in India, where the service is offered in association with the existing Hotstar service, and already accounts for about eight million of Disney+’s 50 million paid subscribers. The subscribers can bundle Disney+ with ESPN+ and Hulu, also owned by Disney.

Disney had reported 28.6 million paid Disney+ subscribers in early February. The company initially told investors it anticipated Disney+ to have subscribers in the range of 60 million to 90 million by the end of fiscal 2024. While Disney has been relatively slow to release scripted streaming originals after the initial splash of “The Mandalorian,” it has been bringing its films like “Frozen 2,” “Onward” and the upcoming “Artemis Fowl” to the service at an accelerated pace, which it has done due to the COVID-19 pandemic and resulting theatrical closures. Disney+ has cut throat competition with Netflix Inc., Amazon.com Inc. and Apple Inc.’s Apple TV+, among other providers. The company’s biggest competitor, Netflix, had more than 167 million subscribers as of January 2020, with 60 million in the US alone. Disney Plus provides much of the company’s deep back-catalogue that includes the content from legendary studios like Marvel, Pixar, and National Geographic. The subscribers have to pay $6.99 per month, or $69.99 annually.

Meanwhile, It’s still unclear exactly to what extent the coronavirus pandemic has affected Disney‘s bottom line, but the company is prepping to furlough staff and cut executive salaries. All of the company’s theme parks are also closed, and Disney has practically ceased all production of movies and television content, as has Netflix. The New York Times had noted that analysts project it to lose up to $1.8 billion annually moving forward.

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