In a wide-ranging presentation at this year’s OTT Question Time Live 2024, the excellent Ben Keen declared a winner in The Streaming Wars.

Collectively, he said, Disney, Warner Bros Discovery, Paramount, Sony and Comcast had lost $600bn in value since peaking during the COVID years.

Why? Because Wall Street took a look at their streaming businesses and saw red ink, lots of it. The big four streamers [Disney, WBD, Paramount and Peacock] lost over $9bn in the preceding four quarters [to November 2023].

One company didn’t lose money among the big guys… Netflix. That’s why I’m calling a winner… It’s over, they won!

It’s a great talk, well worth watching, and Ben and I have had some spirited conversations about it. Where we differ in opinion is that although Netflix is currently ahead in most, if not all, of the KPIs (revenue, number of subscribers, ARPU etc.), I still think that, long-term, Disney will prevail.

Maybe there was some evidence for this in Disney’s Q2 2024 results yesterday.

They’re not amazing numbers but Disney has, at least, stemmed the bleeding. And from using a red pen, they’ve picked up a green one:

  • In Q2, Disney’s Entertainment D2C generated $47m in operating income, an improvement of over $600m compared to the previous year and $185m better than the previous quarter
  • Entertainment D2C revenue grew 13% vs. the previous year and 2% vs. Q1
  • Disney+ now has 54m domestic subscribers, up 7.9% on the previous quarter and 7.7% in the year overall
  • And although international subscribers (63.6m) were down by 1.6% compared to Q1 (65.2m), they were still 5% up vs. a year ago (58.6m)

Green shoots? 

And why do I think that Disney still ultimately wins The Streaming Wars? One word: children. Ask me to elaborate when you next see me.


Kauser Kanji has been working in online video for 19 years, formerly at Virgin Media, ITN and NBC Universal, and founded VOD Professional in 2011. He has since completed major OTT projects for, amongst others, A+E Networks, the BBC, BBC Studios, Channel 4, DR (Denmark), Liberty Global, Netflix, Sony Pictures, the Swiss Broadcasting Corporation and UKTV. He now writes industry analyses, hosts an online debate show, OTT Question Time, as well as its in-person sister event, OTT Question Time Live

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