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Disney Stock Leaps As Solid 7.2 Subscriber Additions Offsets Q2 Earnings Miss

By Martin Baccardax

Updated at 4:16 pm EST

Walt Disney  (DIS Get Walt Disney Company Report posted weaker-than-expected second quarter earnings Wednesday but added a solid 7.2 million subscribers to its family of streaming services, sending shares higher in after-hours trading.

Disney said adjusted diluted earnings for the three months ending in March, the group's fiscal second quarter, came in at $1.08 per share, up 36.7% from the same period last year but firmly shy of the Street forecast of $1.19 per share. 

Group revenues, Disney said, rose 23.3% to $19.25 billion, missing Street forecasts, while overall subscriber totals for its Disney+ streaming services hit 137.7 million, topping well ahead analysts' estimates by around 2 million. 

Disney added 7.9 million subscribers over the whole of the quarter, taking ESPN+ to 22.3 million paid subscribers and Hulu to 45.6 million. 

 “Our strong results in the second quarter, including fantastic performance at our domestic parks and continued growth of our streaming services—with 7.9 million Disney+ subscribers added in the quarter and total subscriptions across all our DTC offerings exceeding 205 million—once again proved that we are in a league of our own,” said CEO Bob Chapek. 

“As we look ahead to Disney’s second century, I am confident we will continue to transform entertainment by combining extraordinary storytelling with innovative technology to create an even larger, more connected, and magical Disney universe for families and fans around the world,” he added.  

Walt Disney shares, one of the worst Dow performers of the year, were marked 3.4% higher in extended hours trading immediately following the earnings release to indicate a Thursday opening bell price of $108.78 each.

Parks and Experiences revenues came in at $6.65 billion, topping the Street's $6.3 billion estimate and rising more than 100% from last year as visitors returned to re-open resorts and cruises around the world, particularly in Hong Kong and the United States. 

Last month, Disney's larger streaming rival Netflix NFLX revealed it had shed 200,000 subscribers over the the first three months of the year, significantly missing the Street consensus forecast of a 2.5 million gain and taking the overall total down to 221.64 million. The group expects to lose another 2 million by the end of the second quarter.

Around 700,000 of those were the result of cutting its service in Russia, Netflix said, but the bulk of the exodus was put down to rising prices, increasing competition and password sharing, which Netflix estimated at around 100 million households world wide. 

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