As part of its fourth-quarter earnings announcement, Disney has confirmed Disney Plus’ new ad-supported tier will launch on 8th December.
“We have proven technology to deliver a great advertising experience on day one,” Disney CEO Bob Chapek told investors, “and importantly, we have the ability to scale and innovate for audiences and advertisers alike.
“We have been a leader in streaming advertising for some time and bring our years of experience, leading ad tech and relationship to this important opportunity,” Chapek added.
Meanwhile, Disney revealed its latest subscriber numbers for Disney Plus, which now has a global reach of 164.2 million subs, up 12.1 million from the previous quarter.
However, in terms of revenue the company reported direct-to-consumer losses of $1.474 billion compared to $630 million a year ago, however overall earnings were up and Chapek said he expected DTC losses to begin to narrow and Disney Plus to turn profitable in 2024.
Disney’s streaming strategy was based on big spending on content, low-priced products and a willingness to take short-term losses to build what Chapek called “the world’s most powerful suite of streaming services,” reaching millions of viewers with must-see content.
Analyst Paolo Pescatore labelled the quarter as “disappointing” for Disney, telling TVBEurope that it “underlines the challenges a media giant faces in pivoting towards a streaming future. The quest for subscribers comes at a cost and success is not guaranteed.”
Pescatore added that Disney Plus’s journey “feels somewhat akin to Netflix’s path” and Disney should expect “more bumps ahead and further losses in the streaming business as there’s no silver bullet to profitability.
“It’s worrying given that a recessionary period lies around the corner where users will be forced to make some tough decisions regarding the need to keep on paying or signing up to a slew of services.”