Disney+ beats expectations to reach 116 million subscribers in Q3 ' TechCrunch

After initially experiencing slower subscriber additions in Q2, as mask mandates and COVID lockdowns ended, Disney's streaming service is now seeing better growth. Today, Disney+ exceeded analyst expectations in terms of subscriber growth. It reached 116 million paid subscribers, more than the 114.5 million Wall Street expected, and over 100% year-over.Disney also exceeded expectations with $17.02 Billion in revenue, compared to $16.76 Billion expected. Earnings per share were 80cs, higher than analysts' expectations of 55 cents. Even Disney Parks are back in business.Forecasting growth metrics across many industries was difficult due to the pandemic. While Disney+ is a well-respected competitor to Netflix in a crowded market like Netflix, it has experienced some downs due COVID impacts. Streaming was increasing in the early days of the pandemic. After just 16 months, Disney+ had reached 100 million subscribers in March. Disney executives stated at the time that the service was on track for reaching its projected 260 million subscribers by 2024.However, Disneys second quarter earnings showed that the economy's reopening had an impact on Disney+ numbers. People now have more to do than sit at home and vaccines are more readily available. When analysts expected 109.3 million, Disney+ reached 103.6 million subscribers. The stock fell as a consequence.The effects of COVID-induced lumpiness was felt by many other subscribers, including Disney. Due to COVID's far-reaching effects, such as production delays and release schedules, Netflix also saw slower subscriber growth in the first half of 2018.However, Netflix's recent quarter, which saw it surpass subscriber estimates once more, suggested that Disney+ might see a similar boost. Recent market expansions in Asia have helped to support that growth. After previous launches in India and Indonesia, Disney+ Hotstar was launched in Malaysia and Thailand last June.However, the Hotstar version of Disney+ led to lower average monthly revenue per user (ARPU), due to its lower price points. According to Disney, ARPU dropped from $4.62 a $4.16 in Q3 due to a higher mix Disney+ Hotstar subscribers than the previous-year quarter.Hulu and ESPN+ were not affected by the trend.Hulus' subscription video service increased from $11.39 to $13.15 over the year. Its Live TV service (+SVOD), grew from $68.11 up to $84.09. ESPN+ also saw a 4 to 47 percent increase from $4.18 and $4.47.The services also saw an increase in subscribers, with ESPN+ increasing 75% year-overyear to reach 14.9 Million customers and Hulu total subscribers growing 21% to reach 42.8 Million.In a press release, Bob Chapek, Disney CEO, stated that the direct-to-consumer segment is doing very well with nearly 174,000,000 subscriptions to Disney+, ESPN+, and Hulu at quarter's end. He also noted that there are a lot of new content coming to Disney+.The direct-to-consumer division of Disney saw revenues rise 57% to $4.3 Billion. Operating loss dropped from $0.6 Billion to $0.3 Billion due to better results from Hulu including higher subscription growth and higher advertising revenues.These gains were offset with a lower loss at Disney+ due to programming, production and technology costs. However, the effects of Black Widow's massive opening in the U.S. and the subsequent lawsuit by Scarlett Johansson are not included in these figures.