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Photo: Disney

Disney's stock skyrocketed after market close Thursday when the company reported better-than-expected subscriber additions for its streaming service Disney+, offsetting losses in the company's studios, parks and resorts divisions.

Yes, but: Revenue fell 23% from this time last year to $14.7 billion and the company's profits disappeared. Still, the losses weren't as bad as investors anticipated and the company saw a boost from some successes in the reopening of sports and engagement in its broadcast network, ABC, around the election.

Why it matters: Thursday marks the one-year anniversary of the launch of Disney+. The company kicked off the direct-to-consumer service to compete with the likes of Netflix and Amazon Prime. At the time, Disney couldn't have imagined that the service would keep the company from financial collapse amid the pandemic.

Details: At of the end of the quarter on Oct. 30, Disney reported that Disney+ had more than 73 million subscribers. At its launch last November the company said its goal was to reach 60 million-90 million paid subscriptions by 2024.

  • "It has quickly exceeded our highest expectations," said Disney CEO Bob Chapek.
  • Disney+ is now available in more than 20 markets. On Tuesday, it will launch in Latin America, including Chile, Brazil, Mexico and Argentina.
  • Disney+ will expand to more overseas markets in the coming year, Chapek said, and the company plans to launch a direct-to-consumer general entertainment offering via its Indian network which it got in 2019 via its Fox acquisition.
  • Chapek said there's more room to grow its subscription business.

Be smart: Disney, like many of its entertainment rivals, reorganized its media and entertainment business around streaming this October.

  • Chapek said the new structure, which separates content creation from distribution, better aligns the company toward streaming.

The big picture: Disney, like many companies in the travel and tourism industry, said it was "very encouraged" by news earlier this week of progress around a COVID-19 vaccine.

  • While the company's parks and resorts abroad in places like China and at home in Florida have now reopened with new safety measures, its Disneyland Park and resort in California remains closed.
  • Chapek noted that the company is "extremely disappointed [the] state of California continues to keep Disneyland closed."
  • He pointed to the company's track record of reopenings globally, as well as its work facilitating safe NBA games through its Disney World "bubble," as examples that the company can and should be able to reopen safety.
  • Still, Chapek says production has begun to ramp up. "We now have more than 100 scripted projects in live production," he said."
  • He anticipates Disneyland will remain closed until the end of the fiscal first quarter, or Dec. 31 and expects theatrical results to be down significantly unpaired to this time last year.

What's next: Disney will provide an update on global subscriber numbers at its annual investment conference on Dec. 10. The company says it now has more than 120 million paid subscribers worldwide for its bundled streaming package, which includes Disney+, ESPN+ and Hulu.

Go deeper

Jan 19, 2021 - Economy & Business

The Daily Wire is profitable, and eyeing entertainment

Illustration: Eniola Odetunde/Axios

The Daily Wire, a conservative media brand known for its prolific Facebook presence and popular podcast "The Ben Shapiro show," is moving into entertainment, its CEO and co-founder Jeremy Boreing tells Axios.

Why it matters: The company, which is profitable and grossed $65 million in revenue last year, wants to differentiate itself from other conservative subscription media brands by focusing mostly on entertainment, rather than political commentary.

Updated 1 hour ago - World

Netanyahu is out as new Israeli government survives confidence vote

Photo: Gil Cohen-Magen/AFP via Getty Images

Israel has a new prime minister for the first time since 2009 after a power-sharing government led by Naftali Bennett survived a confidence vote on Sunday. Bennett was sworn in as prime minister.

Why it matters: Benjamin Netanyahu, Israel's longest-serving prime minister and the man around whom Israeli politics have revolved for a decade, will now become opposition leader. Bennett, a right-wing former Netanyahu protege, will lead the most ideologically diverse government in Israeli history.

Updated 1 hour ago - Politics & Policy

Afghanistan, cyber defense on the agenda for Biden in Brussels

Joe Biden arrives at Melsbroek Military Airport in Brussels on June 13. Photo: Yves Herman/POOL/AFP via Getty Images

President Biden touched down in Brussels on Sunday evening ahead of two days of talks with NATO and European Union leaders as part of his first foreign trip as president.

Driving the news: Biden was greeted on the tarmac by Belgian Prime Minister Alexander De Croo and a slate of other officials, including Douglas Jones and Mark Libby, the U.S. Permanent Representatives to NATO and the EU respectively.