Disneys streaming losses top $1bn

Disney’s investment in streaming services has so far cost the company more than $1bn (£777.6m), CNBC reports.

The company plans to launch a streaming service to compete with Netflix and Amazon later this year, but in a filing on Friday, the entertainment giant said that its investment in Hulu was largely responsible for a $580m loss in equity investments in the fiscal year ended 30 September. Disney’s direct-to consumer-segment, primarly BAMtech, the streaming technology that powers ESPN+ and other services, lost an additional $469m.

Disney faces tough competition when it does launch. Last week, Netflix revealed that it had added 8.8m new paying subscribers in the last three months of 2018, taking its total number of subscribers globally to 139m. It also reported Q4 revenues of $4.2bn, a 28 per cent year-on-year increase, and total 2018 revenues of $16bn, 35 per cent up on the previous year.

It also faces additional costs. As CNBC reports, the company has yet to assume control of another 30 per cent of Hulu, part of its $71.3bn deal for the majority of 21st Century Fox. If Disney were to acquire Comcasts 30 percent stake in Hulu, that would further increase operating losses.