Disney CEO Bob Chapek shares expansion plans as Disney+ subs slow


Disney CEO Bob Chapek has touted plans for a huge expansion of global streamer Disney+ into new territories in 2022, along with a deluge of new original content, as he sought to placate investors following a sharp slow down in subscriptions.

Speaking during the US entertainment giant’s quarterly earnings call this week, Chapek said that the company aims to more than double the number of countries that Disney+ is currently available in, from about 60 now to around 160 by the end of next year.

Bob Chapek

The SVOD, which is home to originals such as Loki and The Mandalorian, is preparing to expand into Central and Eastern Europe, South Africa and the Middle East, with the service first launching in South Korea, Taiwan and Hong Kong over the next few days.

Disney’s ‘content dam to break’

Chapek added that 2022 will see “the dam break in terms of the content we announced last December,” with a particular focus on preschool programming.

“Disney+ is a four-quadrant service,” he explained. “As such, we need content that is going to be broad in order to appeal to each of those demographics. If there’s an opportunity that we’re working on right now, it’s our preschool area.”

The Mouse House reported that Disney+ had reached 118.1 million subscribers at the end of Q4 during the call, indicating that the streamer’s rapid expansion was slowing.

The figure is just 2.1 million more users than reported during the Q3 update in August and around eight million less than had been predicted by Wall Street analysts, causing a shares to drop around 5% in after-market trades.

However, Chapek assured analysts during the call that the company expects a return to growth in the third and fourth quarters of 2022 as its expansion and content plans come into play.

Earlier this year, Disney’s EMEA president said its streaming service’s initial surging growth had allowed the company to “put the afterburners” on its European production efforts, with more than 60 originals planned to launch by 2024.

There are also new animated projects in the works from Africa, including a 10-part series that explores fantasy and sci-fi genres, while 70 originals are being produced in Latin America.

Tags: Disney

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