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Disney to pull back from global streaming push

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Aug 10, 2023
Data: Company earnings reports; Chart: Axios Visuals

Disney appears to be slowing its global streaming ambitions amid pressure to make its direct-to-consumer business profitable by next year.

Why it matters: The shift in strategy means Disney will look to sign more content licensing deals with international distributors and sell off some of its foreign businesses, including in India.

Driving the news: Disney CEO Bob Iger told analysts yesterday that Disney is rethinking which foreign markets it wants to play in.

  • This comes as its Disney+Hotstar business in India, once a prized asset gained in the Fox deal, fades faster than anticipated while Disney considers selling it.
  • Following the loss of hugely popular cricket league streaming rights, Disney has shed 17 million Hotstar subs this year, including 12 million in the last quarter.
  • At the same time, Disney is expanding its offerings by launching its ad-supported Disney+ in Canada and certain European markets this fall.
  • "Not all markets are created equal. And in terms of our march to profitability, one of the ways we believe we're going to do that is by creating priorities internationally," Iger said.

By the numbers: Disney+'s overall subscriber base fell by 1% in the quarter, primarily due to the Hotstar bleeding.

  • But take out Hotstar, and Disney+'s international subs actually increased by 1.1 million.
  • India also drives much less revenue compared to the rest of the world; Hotstar subs accounted for an average revenue per user (ARPU) of 59 cents, while the rest of Disney+'s international subs averaged $6.01.

Of note: Disney cut its streaming losses in half so far this year, posting a $512 million loss for the quarter.

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