Walt Disney (NYSE:DIS) posted a surprise quarterly profit on an adjusted basis on Tuesday. But this upside on the company's bottom line took a backseat to the biggest news from the quarter. The media giant's streaming business has now racked up more than 100 million subscribers, the company announced. Disney+, in particular, stole the show, with subscribers soaring 72% year over year sequentially.
Crossing 100 million subscribers in its streaming business marked "a significant milestone and a reaffirmation of our [direct-to-consumer] strategy, which we view as key to the future growth of our company," said Disney CEO Bob Chapek in the company's fiscal third-quarter earnings release.
Disney+'s launch was timed perfectly
Since its launch on Nov. 12, 2019, Disney+ has already garnered 57.5 million paying subscribers -- about 30% of Netflix's total subscribers. Capturing how wild Disney+'s momentum is, the company added 24 million new subscribers in a single quarter.
Disney's launch of its namesake streaming service was timed perfectly. Social distancing measures have been a boon for streaming -- and Disney+ was launched only several months before much of the world started sheltering at home to help mitigate the spread of the coronavirus.
Investors already knew that Disney+ was getting a boost from the current environment. The company had announced on April 8 that its paying Disney+ subscribers rose from 33.8 million at the end of its fiscal second quarter (March 28) to 50 million as people were sheltering at home. But robust growth has clearly continued, with the company adding another 7.5 million subscribers by the close of its fiscal third quarter on June 29.
Looking beyond Disney+
Of course, Disney also owns Hulu and ESPN+. These services did well during the quarter, too. ESPN+ subscribers increased from 7.9 million at the end of fiscal Q2 to 8.5 million at the close of fiscal Q3 -- an impressive sequential gain considering many professional sports were on lockdown during the quarter. Over the same timeframe, total Hulu subscribers rose from 32.1 million to 35.5 million. On a year-over-year basis, Hulu subscribers were notably up 27%.
Combined subscribers from Disney+, Hulu, and ESPN+ now equal an impressive 101.5 million. Highlighting how far Disney has come in building its streaming business in a very short period of time, this compares to 30.3 million streaming subscribers in the year-ago period.
Disney's streaming business is imperative right now as its amusement park and studio entertainment businesses have seen a significant negative impact from social distancing measures during the coronavirus pandemic.