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Hulu, ESPN+, Disney+ continue to gain subscribers

The Walt Disney Company has released its earnings for its first quarter of 2022, and with it we get a new look at the state of the streaming services that fall under the larger Disney umbrella. Things were good across the board, with gains for Disney+, ESPN+ and Hulu.

“This marks the final year of The Walt Disney Company’s first century,” CEO Bob Chapek said in the earnings release, “and performance like this, coupled with our unmatched collection of assets and platforms, creative capabilities, and unique place in the culture, give me great confidence we will continue to define entertainment for the next 100 years.”

Disney Plus app on a TV.
Phil Nickinson/Digital Trends

Here’s the breakdown for the three months that ended on January 1, 2022:

  • Disney+ now stands at 129.8 million subscribers. That’s up from the 118.1 million subscribers it had at the end of the previous quarter, and nearly 35 million more than the 94.9 million subscribers it had a year ago.
  • Hulu enjoyed another meager increase, with the full service now at 45.3 million subscribers. That’s up from 39.7 million the previous quarter, and 39.4 million from a year ago.
  • That number includes 4.3 million subscribers to Hulu With Live TV — an addition of 300,000 for the quarter, as well as year over year — which likely still has the most subscribers of any of the live streaming services in the United States.
  • ESPN+ increased to 21.3 million subscribers, up from 17.1 million the previous quarter, and from 12.1 million from the first quarter of 2021.

None of those numbers should be especially surprising. Disney+ will continue to grow as the service continues to expand in new countries worldwide. And we’ll see that trend continue this year, with another 42 new countries and 11 territories slated to come online over the summer.

ESPN+, meanwhile, keeps chugging along thanks to its mix of live sports that simply can’t fit on a linear TV schedule, along with new original content that’s exclusive to the streamer.

Hulu (and Hulu With Live TV) has seen the least amount of growth of any of the three services that fall under Disney, but that’s largely due to the fact that it’s a U.S.-only service. On-demand content that is available on Hulu in the U.S. can be found under the Star brand internationally and is rolled in with the Disney+ subscription in many countries.

With the new numbers, Hulu With Live TV likely remains the largest live streaming service in the United States, with its 4.3 million subscribers. That’s likely still more than the next biggest service, which probably is YouTube TV. That service hasn’t given updated subscriber numbers since October 2020, and even then. parent company Alphabet (read: Google) only said it had “more than 3 million” subscribers. Sling TV, which gives specific numbers on a quarterly basis, last reported 2.556 million subscribers.

In the U.S., all three services continue to benefit from the boost of the Disney Bundle. Disney+ on its own costs $8 a month or $80 a year. Hulu starts at at $7 a month for the basic on-demand service, or $70 a month for Hulu With Live TV (which also includes the on-demand library). And ESPN+ runs $7 a month or $70 a year. Bundled together, however, you can get Disney+, ESPN+ and basic Hulu for $14 a month, essentially getting three services for the price of two. And it makes even more sense if you want Hulu With Live TV, which is $70 and month and throws in ESPN+ and Disney+ for free.

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Phil Nickinson
Section Editor, Audio/Video
Phil spent the 2000s making newspapers with the Pensacola (Fla.) News Journal, the 2010s with Android Central and then the…
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