Tragic Kingdom: Disney+ Loses 300,000 Domestic Subscribers as Prices Keep Climbing, Flops Pile Up

LOS ANGELES, CALIFORNIA - JANUARY 13: Robert Iger is seen at "Jimmy Kimmel Live" on January 13, 2023 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by RB/Bauer-Griffin/GC Images)
RB/Bauer-Griffin/GC Images

The Disney+ streaming service lost 300,000 subscribers in the United States and Canada in the most recent quarter — an ominous sign for the studio as it continues to pour billions of dollars into new streaming content that is flopping with viewers.

To make matters worse for its fans, the Walt Disney Company is hiking Disney+’s monthly subscription price to $13.99 from $10.99 — a 27 percent increase. Last year, the price rose to $10.99 from $7.99, which means Disney+ subscribers will see their monthly bill climb a total of 75 percent in less than two years.

The new price is set to take effect in October.

On Wednesday, the studio reported domestic Disney+ subscriptions fell by 300,000 for the fiscal third quarter, to 46 million subscribers. By comparison, Netflix boasts around 76 million domestic subscribers. Worldwide, Disney+ subscriptions declined 24 percent for the period, mostly due to the end of Disney’s deal with Hotstar in India.

The domestic subscriber decline signals rough waters ahead for Disney as U.S. numbers have been stagnating for the past few quarters, indicating that the domestic market has likely reached its peak less than three years after the platform launched in 2019.

Disney continues to spend billions of dollars on new streaming content that receives a tremendous amount of hype but often ends up flopping with viewers.

Recent flops include Willow, which was canceled after just one season and then removed completely from the platform. National Treasure: Edge of History, which was also nixed after one season.

The highly touted Marvel series Secret Invasion managed to draw just 994,000 U.S. households in its first five days of release, making it the second-lowest rated Marvel series after the feminist Ms. Marvel, which drew 775,000 households over a similar period.

Low-level viewer enthusiasm is emerging as a major problem for Disney+.

The streamer has been having a hard time getting subscribers to watch its original Marvel and Star Wars series, with a Nielsen study showed that not a single Marvel or Star Wars show cracked the top 15 most-watched streaming series for 2022.

The only Disney+ show that made the top 15 was The Simpsons.

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