The Walt Disney Co. added 14.4 million subscribers to its Disney+ streaming service during the third quarter of the year, helping to power the Burbank-based entertainment giant to better-than-expected earnings for the period, according to figures released Wednesday.
And on the day the rosy financial picture was released, the company announced pricing plans for a new ad-supported version of Disney+, and an increased subscription cost for the current ad-free version.
Disney reported $21.5 billion in revenue for the third quarter ending July 2, up 26% from the same quarter a year ago. It reported diluted earnings per share of $1.09, up from $0.80 during the same year-ago quarter.
“We had an excellent quarter, with our world-class creative and business teams powering outstanding performance at our domestic theme parks, big increases in live-sports viewership, and significant subscriber growth at our streaming services,” Disney CEO Bob Chapek said in a statement. “With 14.4 million Disney+ subscribers added in the fiscal third quarter, we now have 221 million total subscriptions across our streaming offerings.
“We continue to transform entertainment as we near our second century, with compelling new storytelling across our many platforms and unique immersive physical experiences that exceed guest expectations, all of which are reflected in our strong operating results this quarter.”
Disney announced pricing plans Wednesday for its new ad-supported version of Disney+, which will become available Dec. 8. The new version of the service will cost $7.99 per month — the same price as the current ad-free version.
The cost of the ad-free version will jump to $10.99.
Disney is also adjusting the cost of its Hulu streaming service, with the price of the ad-supported version rising to $7.99 as of Oct. 10, and the ad-free version costing $14.99.
The company will also offer a variety of bundle options, beginning with ad-supported versions of Disney+ and Hulu for $9.99 per month. With ESPN+ added in, the cost rises to $12.99 per month.
A “Legacy” plan with the no-ads Disney+ service and ad-supported versions of Hulu and ESPN+ will cost $14.99 a month, while a “Premium” plan with no-ad versions of Disney+ and Hulu and an ad-supported ESPN+ will cost $19.99.
“With our new ad-supported Disney+ offering and an expanded lineup of plans across our entire streaming portfolio, we will be providing greater consumer choice at a variety of price points to cater to the diverse needs of our viewers and appeal to an even broader audience,” Kareem Daniel, chairman of Disney Media & Entertainment Distribution, said in a statement. “Disney+, Hulu, and ESPN+ feature unparalleled content and viewing experiences and offer the best value in streaming today, with over 100,000 movie titles, TV episodes, original shows, sports, and live events collectively.”