Disney today cut its Disney+ subscriber growth target to between 135 million and 165 million by the end of fiscal 2024 as it expects users in India to migrate after losing streaming rights to cricket, a huge draw in the region.
Disney+ Hostar is the offering there. On a call after earnings, CFO Christine McCarthy noted, “We always said that non-Hotstar … would be 60-70% of the 230 to 260 million base” — referring to the range CEO Bob Chapek and team gave back in late 2020 for Disney+ subs to hit in FY 2024.
McCarthy said the company has updated Hotstar estimates, to up to 80 million subscribers by the end of FY 2024. Disney’s fiscal year ends in September. “We intent to refine this target over time as subscriber visibility in India will be clearer when cricket sales rights are completed.”
Disney’s streaming rights to Indian Premier League cricket made Disney+ Hotstar the fastest growing service in the Indian market. (Disney-owned Star India has retained rights to the TV broadcasts for about $3 billion.) Viacom18, a venture of Paramount and India’s TV18, won the bidding war to stream cricket.
The CFO said Disney+ will hit peak losses in the current 2022 fiscal year. And, despite the Hotstar issue, Disney “remains confident that Disney+ will achieve profitability in 2024 and look forward to reaching a steady state” — with original content, local content ad new new ad supported tier announced today and launching in December.