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Should Disney+ outshine theme park gloom?

Disney+ subscribers are nearing the 100m milestone
Should Disney+ outshine theme park gloom?
  • Coronavirus restrictions are causing expensive losses at theme parks, cruises and resorts
  • But investors are paying closer attention to streaming figures

Walt Disney (US:DIS) said last night that so far the pandemic has cost it a whopping $2.6bn (£1.9bn) in operating income, as both its international and domestic theme parks faced various public health restrictions and, in some cases, complete closure. But the sweet music from its streaming service is drowning out those uglier figures. Investors are instead focusing on the new subscribers to the Disney Plus streaming service, which reached a total 94.9m. 

Going off figures the company gave in an analyst meeting in December, the group added 8.1m of those subscribers in just the last month of the quarter. It said then that it aimed to grow as big as its rival Netflix (US:NFLX) by 2024 - arguably ambitious, but certainly feasible given that Disney Plus has nearly amassed around half of its competitor’s paying members in under two years. 

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