Disney’s Media Subscribers Continue To Plunge In The U.S.

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November 25, 2016 8:46am NYSE:DIS

The number of media subscribers able to view Walt Disney Co (NYSE:DIS) networks via traditional cable and satellite TV subscriptions is waning in the U.S., although the company is seeing strong international growth.


According to estimates in Disney’s latest 10-K filing with the Securities & Exchange Commission (SEC), the vast majority of domestic channels saw significant subscriber declines. The few networks that didn’t see their audiences decline were unchanged from last year, and none of the company’s properties saw subscriber growth in the United States.

Here’s a breakdown of Disney’s domestic network reach:

ESPN (Domestic)

  • ESPN – 90 million (down 2.2% from 92 million a year ago)
  • ESPN2 – 89 million (down 3.4% from 92 million)
  • ESPNU – 71 million (down 1.4% from 72 million)
  • ESPNEWS – 70 million (unchanged)
  • SEC Network – 62 million (unchanged)

Disney Channels (Domestic)

  • Disney Channel – 93 million (down 2.1% form 95 million last year)
  • Disney Junior – 74 million (unchanged)
  • Disney XD – 78 million (unchanged)
  • Freeform – 91 million (down 2.1% from 93 million)

Disney saw big growth in overseas markets, however, with its major networks gaining substantial traction.

International Channels

  • ESPN channels – 141 million (up 11% from 127 million a year ago)
  • Disney Channel – 205 million (up 5.1% from 195 million)
  • Disney Junior – 140 million (up 7.7% from 130 million)
  • Disney XD – 127 million (up 3.2% from 123 million)

To combat its weakening foothold in the U.S., Disney has reportedly considered a number of potential acquisitions. The company has been linked to Netflix and even Twitter, although it has yet to make anything resembling a formal offer in either case.

Disney shares rose $0.24 (+0.24%) to $98.50 in premarket trading Friday. Year-to-date, DIS has fallen -6.49%, versus a +8.25% gain in the benchmark S&P 500 index during the same period.


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