Disney + added 7.9 million subscribers last quarter, beating expectations.

Disney + added 7.9 million subscribers in the last quarter for a total of 138 million worldwide, the company announced Wednesday, helping it avoid the Slow streaming which has recently caused Netflix’s share price to plummet.

Like most media companies, Disney’s stock has been pummeled in the wake Netflix’s announcement last month it had lost 200,000 subscribers in the first three months of the year and expected to lose another two million this quarter. After years of cheering media companies for losing billions in streaming, investors are now lobbying to find a path to profitability.

The release of films like Pixar’s “Turning Red” helped Disney + attract subscribers in the first quarter, which ended April 2. Disney shares were up about 4% in after-hour trading after the earnings announcement.

Disney’s results are good news for Bob Chapek, the CEO, who has been dealing with a public relations crisis resulting from the company’s response to Florida school legislation which, among other things, restricts classroom discussion of sexual orientation and gender identity. (Disney is the state’s largest private employer.)

The company initially refrained from publicly speaking out against the bill, but withdrew after an internal uprising. Mr. Chapek then denounced the legislation that earned him the wrath of Conservatives, including the governor of Florida. Ron De Santis. Last month, Republican lawmakers in Florida revoked a 1967 law that allowed Walt Disney World to do so function as its own quasi-government. In the wake of the clamor, Geoff Morrellwho joined Disney in January as the government’s senior communications and communications executive, stepped down last month.

Disney’s revenue was up 23% from last year to $ 19.2 billion, but it fell short of analysts’ expectations. Disney said it took a hit from the decision to withdraw some of its content from other distributors in favor of its own channels, which meant a $ 1 billion reduction in licensing revenue as part of a compromise to increase its direct. -to- consumer activity.

Disney reported earnings per share of $ 1.08, missing analysts’ expectations of $ 1.17.

Disney’s theme parks unit has been roaring back from a year ago when the Covid-19 pandemic slowed in-person participation. The division’s revenues doubled from the same period last year, with a new line skip system driving increases.

As streaming services seek out more subscribers, India is shaping up to be an important market. Deep-pocketed media companies are preparing to bid for rights to show cricket matches of the popular Indian Premier League. Disney currently has the rights to stream the matches on its Hotstar service, which it acquired in its 2019 mega deal with 21st Century Fox. Losing those rights could be a major blow. However, Chapek said Disney can achieve its subscriber goals even if it doesn’t retain those rights.

This is an evolving story. Check back later for more details.

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