The number of global Disney+ subscribers fell by 2.4m to 161.8m to mark the first membership drop since the service launched in November 2019, while revenues at The Walt Disney Company for the first quarter of 2023 beat analysts’ forecasts.
Revenue rose 8% to $23.5bn, powered by the ongoing strong performance of the company’s parks division. Diluted earnings per share excluding certain items reached 99 cents following a decline of 7 cents, also beating Wall Street expectations.
The parks, experiences and products division reported a 21% climb in revenues over last quarter to $8.7bn, while operating income gained 25% to $3.1bn. The division has been a rising star in recent earnings as customers have returned amid the receding impact of the pandemic.
Revenues at the direct to consumer business climbed 13% to reach $5.3bn while a 78% rise in operating loss resulted in a $1.1bn operating loss – lower than Wall Street expected and driven partly by rising costs of Disney+ content and technology and higher costs at Hulu.
International Disney+ subscribers grew 2% over the quarter to 57.7m, while the North American base grew marginally to 46.6m. Disney+ Hostar membership fell 6% to 57.5m.
Bob Iger who returned as Disney CEO last November after stepping down from the role in February 2020, said in a statement, “After a solid first quarter, we are embarking on a significant transformation, one that will maximise the potential of our world-class creative teams and our unparalleled brands and franchises.
“We believe the work we are doing to reshape our company around creativity, while reducing expenses, will lead to sustained growth and profitability for our streaming business, better position us to weather future disruption and global economic challenges, and deliver value for our shareholders.”