The Walt Disney Company (DIS 0.16%) is capturing the attention of investors after it reported fiscal 2022 third-quarter financial results in August. In that report, Disney highlighted a significant milestone -- it surpassed Netflix (NFLX -9.09%) in total subscribers. The streaming pioneer had a several years' head start against Disney, so the accomplishment is noteworthy, to be sure. 

Disney hesitated before jumping in with both feet into the streaming business. It feared the new segment would steal customers away from its more lucrative cable TV business. But now that it is committed to streaming, the early results encourage shareholders. Let's look closer. 

Surpassing Netflix in total streaming subscribers

In its most recent quarter, which ended on July 2, the House of Mouse added 14.4 million Disney+ subscribers from the previous quarter. Across its three services, which include Hulu and ESPN+, Disney boasts 221 million. That gave it just the slightest lead over Netflix, which claimed 220.67 million subscribers as of June 30.  

NFLX Revenue (Quarterly) Chart

NFLX Revenue (Quarterly) data by YCharts

While the accomplishment should encourage Disney shareholders, Netflix still holds the advantage in other critical metrics. Netflix generated $8 billion in revenue in its most recent quarter while Disney's streaming segment earned $5 billion. Similarly, Netflix posted an operating income of $1.6 billion to Disney's operating loss of $1.1 billion.

The figures from these crucial metrics show that while Disney is making considerable progress against Netflix, more work must be done to overtake the streaming pioneer.

NFLX Operating Income (Quarterly) Chart

NFLX Operating Income (Quarterly) data by YCharts.

Disney's management updated investors about its ambitions in the streaming business in its conference call that followed its earnings release on Aug. 10. Previously, the company had targeted 230 million to 260 million Disney+ subscribers by 2024. In the conference call, that range was lowered to 215 million to 245 million. The decrease was attributed to fewer new customers from its Hotstar service, which has a significantly lower average revenue per user than core Disney+.

Nevertheless, 230 million subs (the midpoint of the target mentioned above) would be a growth of nearly 80 million from the 152 million subs Disney+ boasted about as of July 2. With several iconic franchises like Star Wars, Marvel, Pixar, and more, Disney is confident it can attract millions of customers to its service over the next few years.

There's still time to buy Disney's stock

It's no surprise that investing communities were abuzz about Disney's stock. The company added 14.4 million subscribers in a quarter, whereas its main rival Netflix lost 970,000. Disney's stock has been up 14% in recent days. Still, it's not too late for those interested in adding Disney's stock to their portfolios.