Disney+ Hotstar haemorrhages subscribers

  • While revenue for the quarter improved, a closer look at Disney’s results reveals trouble for its entertainment business.
  • Disney+ Core crew just one percent compared to 2022 while Hotstar saw subscriber numbers fall by 12 million.
  • Disney has also said it will start cracking down on account sharing in 2024.

While Netflix celebrates a win, having added 5.9 million new paid subscribers in the last quarter, Disney will be looking on in envy after it revealed its financial results for the third quarter of the year.

The House of Mouse saw revenues increase four percent from $21.5 billion to $22.3 billion compared to the same period in 2022.

While the largest contributor to that revenue is Disney’s Media and Entertainment Distribution business, it’s also the segment that lost the most ground this quarter.

Disney+ Core – which excludes Disney+ Hotstar but includes all international Disney+ properties – only saw subscribers grow by one percent. The more affordable Disney+ Hotstar saw over 12 million subscribers leaving the service when comparing the numbers to the same period last year.

South Africa forms part of the group of countries that have access to Hotstar and from our experience, it’s a simply awful service. While the content is fine, the apps and functionality of the platform leave much to be desired. In fact, Hotstar feels like Disney made an attempt at making a version of its platform that used less data and left it at the first draft.

It also likely didn’t help that Hotstar was outbid in a battle to broadcast the Indian Premier League, a factor the firm says lead to a decrease in advertising revenues.

As it turns out then, streaming platforms are not guaranteed to mirror the success of Netflix. In fact, if anything, the growing number of streaming platforms is only going to hurt the entire industry as folks get fed up with the cost creep and turn to cheaper, less-than-legal alternatives.

Rather than recognise that streaming fatigue has set in however, Disney seems to think this is a sign to bleed customers for more money. As per Engadget, the firm is adopting the Netflix strategy of cracking down on account sharing. This push will happen alongside a price increase for Disney+ but the account sharing crackdown is only expected to happen in 2024.

Will this work for Disney as it has for Netflix? We’re not so sure and with an actor and writer strike on the go, streaming platforms may start feeling the brunt as rivers of content begin drying up.


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