Walt Disney’s (DIS) – Get Walt Disney Company Report closed the year strong with its latest Marvel series, “Hawkeye,” the Beatles Documentary “Get Back,” and the December 29 premiere of the highly anticipated “Star Wars” series “Book of Boba Fett.” A sort of companion series to the wildly popular “The Mandalorian,” the show fills in the backstory of exactly how the popular bounty hunter survived Han Solo knocking him into the Sarlacc pit in “Return of the Jedi.”
If the second half of that last sentence didn’t mean anything to you, well, Disney+ also added Pixar’s “Encanto” and Marvel’s “Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings” in the fourth quarter. It was a veritable explosion of content to finish the year, which wasn’t exactly the plan, but the company did have to deal with production slowdowns creating some delays due to the ongoing pandemic.
CEO Bob Chapek seemed pleased with the company’s streaming services and Disney+ in particular, during his remarks in the Mouse House’s fourth-quarter earnings call.
“On the direct-to-consumer side, we are extremely pleased with the success of our portfolio streaming services, Disney+, ESPN+, and Hulu continued to perform incredibly well with 118.1 million, 17.1 million, and 43.8 million subscribers, respectively, for a total of 179 million subscriptions,” he said. “To put this growth in perspective, in the past fiscal year alone, we have grown the total number of subscriptions across our DTC portfolio by 48% and Disney+ subs, in particular, by 60%.”
Disney’s CEO Has a Long-term View
While DIsney+ has exceeded all initial growth projections, Chapek has refused to get caught up in the moment. He’s instead focusing on where the company plans to take the business over the next few years.
“I want to reiterate that we remain focused on managing our DTC business for the long term, not quarter to quarter, and we’re confident we are on the right trajectory to achieve the guidance that we provided at last year’s Investors Day, reaching between 230 million and 260 million paid Disney+ subscribers globally by the end of fiscal year 2024, and with Disney+ achieving profitability that same year,” he said.
What’s Coming on Disney+ in 2022?
Disney has a different business model than its chief rival, Netflix (NFLX) – Get Netflix, Inc. Report. The company owns so much high-end, incredibly well-known intellectual property (IP) that its shows are nearly guaranteed to find an audience. That’s very different from Netflix, which largely has to create shows from nothing and then hope they’re good enough to find viewers.
Basically, Disney knows its customers and potential customers. It can build its family audience by creating more shows from its well-known IP and franchises.
“In total, we are nearly doubling the amount of original content from our marquee brands, Disney, Marvel, Pixar, Star Wars, and National Geographic coming to Disney+ in fiscal year ’22, with the majority of our highly anticipated titles arriving July through September,” Chapek said. “This represents the beginning of the surge of new content shared last December at our investor conference 2.0.”
Disney intends to give its audience more of what they like. That, Chapek said, will help the streaming service reach its ambitious subscriber goals.
“We recognize that the single, most effective way to grow our streaming platforms worldwide is with great content, and we are singularly focused on making new high-quality entertainment including local and regional content that we believe will resonate with audiences,” the CEO said. ” Of note, we have 340-plus local original titles in various stages of development and production for our DTC platforms over the next few years.”