Walt Disney has reached a milestone in its streaming business: For the first time, the entertainment company has more subscribers than industry pioneer Netflix.

As can be seen from the quarterly report that has now been presented, he most recently had a total of 221.1 million customers on his video platforms Disney +, Hulu and ESPN +.

Netflix reported 220.7 million subscribers for its most recent fiscal quarter.

And while Netflix reported two straight quarters of declining subscribers, Disney has remained on a growth trajectory so far.

Roland Lindner

Business correspondent in New York.

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However, Disney's platforms will soon become significantly more expensive.

The group has announced a price increase for December – initially for the American home market.

Like Netflix, Disney also wants to offer a cheaper subscription plan with ads.

Disney's quarterly earnings were overall better than analysts' expectations, with the share price up 4 percent in trading on Thursday.

Precisely because Netflix is ​​struggling, the Disney numbers were awaited with particular excitement this time.

Overall, Disney is in robust shape with its streaming services, but the picture isn't entirely clear.

For its most important platform, Disney+, the group increased the number of its subscribers by 14.4 million to 152.1 million.

That was significantly more than analysts expected.

The downer

However, it was largely due to international business, with Disney+ launching in more than 50 new countries in the past quarter.

The platform is slowing down considerably in the North American home market, where the number of customers has increased only minimally.

The group has also revised its medium-term forecast downwards, for 2024 it now expects 215 million to 245 million subscribers, previously there was talk of 230 million to 260 million.

The correction was justified by the loss of broadcasting rights for cricket matches in India.

Disney has also moved further away from making a profit from its streaming services.

It had an operating loss of $1.1 billion last quarter, up from $293 million a year ago.

Disney blamed higher costs for producing and marketing its content.

The company now apparently wants to pass on the rising costs to its customers.

The monthly price of Disney+ is set to rise from $7.99 to $10.99 in the US in December.

At the same time, a version of the service with advertising is to be launched at the previous price of $7.99.

Nothing has yet been announced about a possible price increase in Germany, where Disney + has cost 8.99 euros so far.

Other platforms have also raised their prices recently.

Netflix increased the price of its standard US subscription from $13.99 to $15.49 a month, and Amazon increased the annual fee for its Prime customer loyalty program, which includes a video service, from $119 to $139.

For Disney, the price increases now announced may not be the last.

Multiple pillars

CEO Bob Chapek said in a conference call that he still sees "leeway".

He pointed out that Disney initially charged comparatively low prices for its streaming offers.

The higher fees are intended to help reduce losses in the streaming business.

Profits are targeted for 2024.

For the entire group, Disney reported a sales increase of 26 percent to 21.5 billion dollars, net profit rose by 53 percent to 1.4 billion dollars.

In addition to the streaming services, the growth in sales was mainly due to the amusement parks.

This business is very important to Disney, and it's been hit particularly hard by the pandemic.

But now it has normalized.

Compared to the previous year, when some parks still had capacity restrictions, sales increased by 70 percent.

According to the company, the number of visitors to the American parks is higher on many days than before the pandemic, and Disneyland Paris generated more sales than in the comparable quarter of 2019. However, Disney's park in Shanghai was closed for almost the entire past quarter.