Disney wins this round: Here's where the streaming giants stand at the end of earnings season

Key Points
  • Disney took home the prize as this earnings season's big winner with strong Disney+ growth.
  • Netflix added just 1 million global subscribers but hopes for a rebound next quarter.
  • NBCUniversal added 12 million new Peacock sign-ups on the strength of the Tokyo Olympics.

In this article

Cars drive past a sign featuring Mickey Mouse at the entrance to Walt Disney World on the day that portions of the theme park, including the Magic Kingdom, reopened to guests after being closed since mid-March due the coronavirus pandemic.
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This round, Disney beat Netflix.

Disney's continued growth, juxtaposed with a disappointing quarter for Netflix, was the big story of this quarter's earnings season.

Disney benefited from a handful of popular movies, including "Cruella" and "Luca," that it placed directly on its Disney+ service in the quarter ended June 30, while Netflix is banking on a return to growth next quarter, when hit originals such as "Sex Education" and "Money Heist" return to the service.

Disney+ and Hotstar, Disney's Indian streaming service, added 12.4 million new subscribers since last quarter, while Netflix added just 1 million new customers. Last quarter, Disney added almost 9 million new Disney+ subscribers and Netflix added about 4 million new customers.

"Last quarter, we had a little bit of weakness in streaming subs both at Netflix and Disney. The weakness continued for Netflix, but it didn't for Disney," Mark Zgutowicz, an analyst at Rosenblatt Equity Research, said in a CNBC interview. "Disney+ is about 90 million subs behind Netflix globally now. With this number today, it's tracking toward a 20 million net add gain on Netflix this year."

All of the big streaming video players have reported earnings this quarter. The following is a rundown of where all the major streaming services stand:


  • 209 million global paying subscribers (up 1 million from last quarter)
  • 73.95 million subscribers in U.S. and Canada
  • Average revenue per unit, or ARPU, for U.S. and Canada: $14.54


  • Disney+, including Hotstar: 116 million subscribers, $4.16 global ARPU (up 12.4 million from last quarter)
  • Hulu subscription video on demand, or SVOD, only: 39.1 million subscribers, $13.15 ARPU
  • Hulu SVOD+Live TV: 3.7 million subscribers, $84.09 ARPU
  • ESPN+: 14.9 million subscribers, $4.47 ARPU

Amazon Prime Video

  • More than 175 million Amazon Prime members have streamed shows and movies in the past year. No updates were given during second-quarter earnings.
  • Prime memberships cost $12.99 a month or $119 a year but offer many benefits other than streaming video — including free one-day or two-day shipping on most Amazon packages. Amazon does not break out ARPU by Prime members.


  • Apple TV+ subscribers: ? (No updates given during second-quarter earnings)
  • ARPU: ?

Apple's free one-year trials to Apple TV+, which it gives away with new hardware such as iPhones, are now starting to expire for many customers, which could spur the company to offer an update on its next earnings call.

NBCUniversal's Peacock

  • 54 million "sign-ups" (up 12 million from last quarter)
  • More than 20 million monthly active accounts
  • ARPU: ?
  • Three tiers: Free with commercials, $4.99 a month for fewer ads and more content, $9.99 a month ad-free

Comcast's NBCUniversal, the parent company of CNBC, successfully used the 2020 Olympic Games in Tokyo to push Peacock subscriptions. NBCUniversal will likely add more Olympics-related sign-ups next quarter, as it reported Peacock statistics only about halfway through the Games.

While the company has not released an official figure for ARPU yet, NBCUniversal estimated in January that Peacock would deliver $6 to $7 a month across its three tiers.

WarnerMedia's HBO and HBO Max

  • 67.5 million global subscribers (up 3.6 million)
  • 47 million domestic subscribers (up 2.8 million)
  • ARPU: $11.90 domestically

AT&T raised its year-end global subscriber forecast for HBO Max to 73 million from 70 million in its second-quarter earnings statement. As of March, it expects 120 million to 150 million subscribers by the end of 2025.


  • More than 42 million subscribers across Paramount+, Showtime, Noggin, BET+ and other platforms (up about 6.5 million, the "overwhelming majority" of which came from Paramount+)
  • Over 52 million monthly average Pluto TV users (up 2 million)
  • ARPU: ?

Average revenue per user remains a question mark for ViacomCBS, which has still chosen not to reveal the statistic.

"We've been on a journey of increased disclosure over time," ViacomCBS CEO Bob Bakish told CNBC. "We will continue to evolve disclosure."



  • 28.9 million global subscribers (down 600,000), 16.7 million of which are streaming
  • ARPU: about $6 per month

Lionsgate's Starz actually lost total subscribers in the quarter, though the decline relates to cancellations of the company's linear service. Streaming customers rose 58% year over year to 16.7 million globally.

AMC Networks

  • Total subscribers: ?
  • ARPU: ?

AMC Networks said earlier this month it expects to have at least 9 million paid streaming subscribers across its platforms by the end of the year. The company's flagship streaming product is AMC+, which may see a boost in subscribers after Verizon announced a deal with the company earlier this month that gives certain subscribers a free trial of the product for 6 or 12 months.

Disclosure: NBCUniversal is the parent company of CNBC.

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