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Disney cuts 7,000 jobs globally, India business loses 6% paid subscribers amid IPL woes

The Walt Disney Company-owned platform lost 6% paid subscribers, to 57.5 million in December from 61.3 million in October 2022.

Disney cuts 7,000 jobs globally, India business loses 6% paid subscribers amid IPL woes

Thursday February 09, 2023 , 3 min Read

Disney+ Hotstar, the service offered in India and certain Southeast Asian countries, lost 6% paid subscribers, to 57.5 million in December from 61.3 million in October 2022. Disney+ lost 1%, about 2.4 million, of total paid subscribers, between October and December 2022. This is the streaming platform's first-ever decline since its launch more than three years ago.

Last year, Disney+ Hotstar, the digital platform catered to India and Southeast Asia, lost its crown jewel—the digital streaming rights of the Indian Premier League (IPL)—to Viacom18, which is owned by Mukesh Ambani-run Reliance Industries (RIL). India's biggest sports league was responsible for millions of concurrent views and traffic on Disney+Hotstar. But now the firm is experimenting with multiple strategies to retain and attract new users, including creating longer format shows.

At the moment, Disney+Hotstar competes with Netflix and Amazon Prime in India. It offers a whole host of content including daily soaps across Hindi, Tamil, and Bengali, among other local languages, movies from domestic, international and its own studio, and sports content.

Globally, streaming players including Netflix, and Disney, have been under pressure from Wall Street to show profits, reduce spending, and also keep users hooked to their platforms. Robert Igert, who exited his role in February 2020, left Robert Chapek in charge. However, in November, the company's board reinstated Iger to turn the cash-bleeding streaming ship around.

This is Iger's first earnings result since his reinstallation at The Walt Disney Company.

“After a solid first quarter, we are embarking on a significant transformation, one that will maximize the potential of our world-class creative teams and our unparalleled brands and franchises,” said Iger.

Disney's income from continuing operations before income taxes increased from $1,773 million (in Dec 31, 2022) to $1,688 million (in Jan 1, 2022), a difference of 5%. Total revenue was $23,512 million, in December, while in October $21,819 million, marking an 8% increase.

The North American and Canadian subscriber base remained constant at 46.4 million, while the international markets' base increased by 2%, excluding Disney+Hotstar.

“We believe the work we are doing to reshape our company around creativity, while reducing expenses, will lead to sustained growth and profitability for our streaming business, better position us to weather future disruption and global economic challenges, and deliver value for our shareholders," said Iger.

The executive, who has been under pressure to make Disney+ profitable, also plans on slashing 7,000 jobs globally, according to multiple media reports. This step could help Disney meet its aim of reducing cost by $5.5 billion.

(This story has been updated to correct typos and include the latest information about job cuts.)

Edited by Akanksha Sarma