Disney has once again taken the lead in subscriber count, overtaking its main rival, Netflix. This comes after Disney released its fourth-quarter earnings, revealing that both revenue and earnings per share had come in well below what Wall Street had predicted.
Over the last few quarters, Netflix and Disney have been struggling to maintain the lead as subscriber numbers see-saw between the two streaming sites. Netflix started off in a stronger position, but Disney has proved a worthy adversary, thanks in part to its unrivalled content library.
At the end of the third quarter, Netflix boasted 223.1 million subscribers, marking a welcome increase of around 2.4 million subscribers after two consecutive quarters of declining figures.
Meanwhile, Disney added 14.6 million subscribers, leaving it with a total of more than 235 million for all of its streaming networks, including 12.1 million for the Disney+ channel, which ended the fourth quarter with over 164 million subs.
So, to what does Disney owe its success? Well, the company has already invested in expanding Disney+ in global regions and has added a couple of additional subscription packages, such as the Disney+Hotstar bundle, in certain regions. The site also benefits from releasing films in theatres and then moving them to its streaming network.
Netflix recently launched an ad-supported streaming tier to win back subscribers. Disney will roll out a similar package in December, although it already offers ad-supported streaming on some of its other channels. The company will likely benefit from having built up an advertising business over decades of collaboration with networks like ABC.