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Disney+ hits 95 million subscribers

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Disney+ hits 95 million subscribers

Pandemic-stricken Disney posted a surprise first-quarter profit Thursday, boosted by strength at streaming service Disney+, which added more than 21 million new subscribers.

Disney said overall that it amassed nearly 95 million Disney+ subscribers by the end of Jan. 2, compared with just under 74 million subscribers at the end of the fourth quarter.

In recent months, a new Pixar Animation movie, “Soul,” and the culmination of Season 2 of the “Star Wars” hit series “The Mandalorian,” helped boost sign ups, the company said.

The rapid growth of Disney+ also was lifted by Disney Plus Hotstar in India and Indonesia, which accounted for about 30 percent of the streamer’s total customers.

Disney+, which launched in November 2019, has grown quickly and is considered a viable rival for streaming giant Netflix, which has amassed more than 200 million global subscribers. In its short lifespan, Disney+ has exceeded the company’s initial subscriber goal of 60 million to 90 million by 2024. Now it expects Disney+ to have 230 million to 260 million subscribers by 2024.

The streaming service has been a rare bright spot for the Mouse House, which has seen massive slowdown in its theme parks and movie business due to pandemic. Last fall, the company began restructuring its media and entertainment divisions to focus more on Disney+.

The company said growth at service gave Disney its first profit after it reported two quarterly losses in a row.

For the period, Disney logged a profit of $17 million, or a penny a share versus a pre-pandemic year-ago first quarter, which amassed a $2.11 billion profit or $1.16 a share. Adjusted earnings were 32 cents, better than Wall Street’s expectation of a loss of 41 cents.

Total revenue at Disney fell 22 percent to $16.25 billion, with revenue dropping in both the company’s media and entertainment distribution and its parks, experiences and products segments. In the latter, revenue sank by more than half. Analysts predicted revenue of $15.93 billion.

Disney continues its focus on the streaming service as it plans for around 100 film and television projects, of which 80 percent are set to go directly to Disney+. This includes nearly a dozen Marvel series and more than 10 Star Wars shows.

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Business

Alexandra Ford English becomes 1st female board member at Ford

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Alexandra Ford English becomes 1st female board member at Ford

Henry Ford’s great-great-granddaughter has become the first woman in history to take a seat on the company’s board of directors.

Alexandra Ford English, 33, who has an MBA from Harvard and an undergraduate degree from Stanford, will begin her tenure on the 14-member board immediately, which will also include her cousin, Henry Ford III, the founder’s great-great-grandson, according to a report.

English, the daughter of the company’s executive chairman Bill Ford, joined the 118-year-old company in 2017 and works as director of corporate strategy.

Both Ford and English were elected to the board in March.

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AMC cashes in on Reddit-trading frenzy with $428 million share sale

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AMC cashes in on Reddit-trading frenzy with $428 million share sale

Cinema operator AMC Entertainment Holdings has raised about $428 million from a share sale, capitalizing on the retail-trading driven surge in its stock earlier this year.

The world’s largest cinema chain operator’s shares have gained more than five-folds in 2021 thanks to interest from amateur traders on Reddit that were piling into heavily shorted stocks such as GameStop and AMC to punish hedge funds that bet against them.

AMC said in a statement Thursday it had sold 43 million shares at an average price of $9.94 apiece in the at-the-market offering, sending its stock nearly 16 percent higher.

The company has raised funds in the past few months to ride out a downturn in its business wrought by pandemic-driven theater closures, delays in the launch of big movies and the growth of video streaming platforms.

It said in January it had raised $917 million since mid-December through equity and debt issues. It raised an additional $304.8 million in the same month through a share sale.

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Amazon Fresh grocery store to replace Fairway in Paramus

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Amazon Fresh grocery store to replace Fairway in Paramus

The Paramus Fairway’s getting a fresh start.

An Amazon Fresh supermarket is set to replace the shuttered Fairway Market in Paramus, N.J.

The Jeff Bezos-owned e-commerce giant bought the former Fairway location out of bankruptcy auction along with another former Fairway store in Woodland Park for a total of $1.5 million last March, The Post previously reported. 

Amazon’s plans for the two locations were listed as confidential at the time, but came as the Seattle-based company, which also owns Whole Foods, was beginning to expand in the groceries space. 

But Amazon confirmed in November the former Woodland Park Fairway would be converted into an Amazon Fresh. And now, the Paramus location will go the same route, an Amazon spokesperson confirmed to NorthJersey.com. 

It’s not clear when opening day will be, and the company did not return The Post’s request for comment. 

Amazon opened its first Fresh store in Los Angeles’ Woodland Hills neighborhood in September. It’s since opened 11 other locations elsewhere in California and in Illinois, according to the tech giant’s website. 

Amazon Fresh is the company’s attempt to offer a mix of in-store and online grocery shopping while attracting a distinct demographic from Whole Foods by offering lower prices. Fresh stores also tend to feature more national staple brands like Coca-Cola and Kellogg’s than Whole Foods, which emphasizes organic food. 

As The Post previously reported, Amazon may be looking to scoop up some more Fairway locations to expand Amazon Fresh’s footprint in the Northeast. Only seven of Fairway’s 14 stores were sold at last year’s bankruptcy auction, including the two that went to Amazon. Village Supermarket, which operates Shoprite stores, acquired at least four of those locations as well as rights to the Fairway brand. 

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