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In brief: The Walt Disney Company has announced it now boasts more subscribers across its three services than Netflix. The media giant also revealed that Disney+'s new, 'cheaper' ad-supported tier arrives on December 8 for $7.99 a month. That's the same price as the current, ad-free version, which will increase to $10.99 per month in the US.
Back in March, Disney+ announced it would be offering a cheaper, ad-supported plan later this year. One could argue that it's just introducing ads to the current $7.99 tier on December 8, the same date it launches the ad-free Disney+ Premium option that will cost $10.99 per month in the US.
Disney CEO Bob Chapek said the ad-supported tier, which can't be paid for annually, would have a "lower ad load and frequency to ensure a great experience for viewers." The ads are expected to take up four minutes per hour and won't run on kids profiles.
The price of Hulu is also going up. The ad-free tier is increasing from $12.99 per month to $14.99, while the ad-supported version is moving from $6.99 to $7.99. The previously announced ESPN+ price hike pushes it from $6.99 to $9.99 per month.
The new Disney+ tier is also being added to bundle plans. Incorporating it with ad-supported Hulu will be $9.99, and adding ESPN+ to the package is $12.99. An ad-free Disney Plus subscription with ad-supported Hulu and ESPN Plus will increase from $13.99 to $14.99 / month, and removing ads from Hulu increases that package to $19.99.
Disney+ beat expectations in the third quarter when it reached 152.1 million subs by adding 14.4 million new customers, which exceeded the expected figure of 10 million. Growth in the quarter was spurred by shows such as Obi-Wan Kenobi and Ms. Marvel.
As reported by TechCrunch, most of Disney+'s growth came from outside the US and Canada, where it attracted 100,000 new subscribers to reach 44.5 million. International Disney+ subscribers increased by 6 million to reach 49.2 million, while Disney+ Hotstar, available in India and Southeast Asia, added 8.3 million subscribers to reach 58.4 million.
Disney did, however, lower its forecast for Disney+ from 230 million - 260 million subscribers by the end of fiscal 2024 to 215 million - 245 million.
With Hulu hitting 46.2 million subs and ESPN+ reaching 22.8 million, Disney's combined 221.1 million subscribers puts it ahead of Netflix's 220.67 million global customers—Netflix lost almost one million subscribers in the last quarter.
Despite the increase in subscribers, Disney's streaming business continues to lose money, reporting a loss of $1.1 billion during the quarter. But the company as a whole, including its theme parks, recorded a profit of $1.41 billion.
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