In contrast to Disney’s forecast of 230 million to 260 million subscribers by 2024, MoffettNathanson analyst Michael Nathanson predicts the service will reach 213 million subscribers by that year.
With the recent loss of the streaming rights for the Indian Premier League (IPL) Cricket to Viacom18, MoffettNathanson analyst Michael Nathanson has lowered his worldwide subscriber objective for Walt Disney streamer Disney+ below the company’s 2024 target range.
According to his Friday analysis, “Disney+ Hotstar (in India) slips down to around a third of subs (against the 43 percent estimate earlier) and we now anticipate the firm to come in below its 230-260 million prediction with 213 million.”
The Wall Street expert stated that his financial projections for Disney’s direct-to-consumer (DTC) unit earnings before interest and taxes (EBIT) actually improved, swinging to a fiscal year 2024 profit of $300 million from a forecast loss of $310 million. This was despite the lower Disney+ subscriber forecast. “Removing our expected spike in IPL expenses required to gain the rights,” was the motivating factor.
Wall Street experts have questioned if Disney, under the leadership of CEO Bob Chapek, may cut its streaming user projection for 230 million to 260 million subs by 2024 in light of the Indian cricket rights auction and Netflix’s recent subscriber losses. Disney said in May that their overall subscriber count increased by 7.9 million in the most recent quarter to 137.7 million.
Following the cricket auction, where the conglomerate’s Star India service won the exclusive TV rights package for the 2023–2027 Indian Premier League cricket seasons for an estimated $3 billion, Rebecca Campbell, chairman, international content and operations at Disney, said in a statement, “We chose not to proceed with the digital rights given the price required to secure that package.” “We made strategic bids with an eye on long-term value,” has been dealing with a sharp increase in content streaming rights globally, much like its competitor media behemoths.
Nathanson still rates Disney stock as “market perform,” but on Friday he lowered his price objective by $5 to $120. On August 10, Disney will release its financial results for the third quarter.