Disney+ Has Its First Major Upset in Shocking Report

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Disney+ has brought fans a ‘whole new world’ of television shows and movies from Marvel, Star Wars, and more since its launch back in 2019.

The streamer has had some big hits for Disney, from the premieres of Pixar’s Soul (2020) and Turning Red (2022) to fan-favorite Grogu (or Baby Yoda) from The Mandalorian. 

And though long-running comedy series The Simpsons and Star Wars series The Mandalorian have proven popular on Disney’s subscription streaming service, it seems Disney+ has now suffered its first decline since its launch.

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Credit: Disney

The Walt Disney Company hosted its first quarterly earnings call since Bob Iger returned as CEO of the company today, Wednesday, February 8, 2023. 

Bob Iger, one of the most successful CEOs in the history of The Walt Disney Company, returned to once again head the Disney empire in November 2022. The beloved former CEO of the Walt Disney Company was reinstated by the Board of Directors, replacing divisive Disney CEO Bob Chapek. 

Iger launched Disney+ on November 12, 2019, in the United States, Canada, and the Netherlands, and expanded it to Australia, New Zealand, and Puerto Rico a week later. It became available in Europe in March 2020 and then in India in April as Disney+ Hotstar.

And now, it’s seen its first decline in subscribers since its launch.


Credit: Disney+

It was revealed today that Disney+ lost a net 2.4 million subscribers in the last three months of 2022.

The surprising drop in Disney+ subscribers appears to be driven by a 3.8 million decline at Disney+ Hotstar, the version of the service offered in India and parts of Southeast Asia. Last year, Disney lost streaming rights to Indian Premier League (IPL) cricket matches, which has been reported as a factor for lower growth targets.

In the U.S. and Canada, Disney+ gained about 200,000 users (reaching 46.6 million). Hulu gained 800,000 in the quarter to stand at 48.0 million, and ESPN+ increased by 600,000 to 24.9 million.

Iger confirmed that a “transformation” is coming for the company based on the results, stating on the Disney earnings call:

“After a solid first quarter, we are embarking on a significant transformation, one that will maximize 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.”

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Credit: Disney

Domestic Disney Parks and Experiences, however, saw an increase of 36% over the last quarter. Operating income overall for Parks, Experiences, and Progress increased by 25% to a whopping $3.1 billion.

Overall, Disney posted revenue of $23.51 billion (up 8%) and adjusted earnings per share of 99 cents for the quarter ending December 31, 2022.

The Mandalorian is set to have its season three premiere on March 1, 2023, after a 3-year break. A storyline involving Din Djarin (Pedro Pascal) and Grogu featured in Star Wars: The Book of Boba Fett, but we’re betting on Disney+ seeing some historic figures in March.

Bob Chapek

Credit: Disney

In a first for Disney’s premier direct-to-consumer streaming service, Disney+ introduced an ad-supported subscription in addition to its option without ads in 2022, with plans to expand internationally in 2023.

The new pricing structure means that a new lower-tiered option is available for those on more of a budget when it comes to streaming services – just with the addition of advertisements when trying to watch their favorite Disney movie.

Former Disney CEO Bob Chapek is known to have had a strong focus on the Disney streaming service, with The Walt Disney Company finding ways to integrate the streaming platform into the Parks. Disney last year celebrated Disney+ Day in Walt Disney World and Disneyland Resort, in honor of the Disney+ two-year anniversary.

With the popularity of Kevin Feige’s Marvel Cinematic Universe, which has recently exploded onto the streamer with releases like WandaVisionThe Falcon and the Winter SoldierLoki, and Moon Knight, as well as exclusive releases like Pixar’s Turning Red (2022), it’ll be interesting to see how Disney+ subscriptions develop over the next year.

About Melissa Cannioto

Melissa is an author, adventurer, and chatterbox, who has worked at Walt Disney World, Disneyland Paris, and Adventures by Disney! A British native, she has traveled the world seeking new experiences, and now resides in Florida with her husband, an Air Force pilot. Find her children's book at