After DeSantis Feud, Disney+ Domestic Growth Slows to a Near Halt

August 11, 2022 Updated 9:48 AM ET

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August 11, 2022 Updated 9:45 A.M. ET

BURBANK (FLV) – Despite an overall strong earnings and subscriptions report from the Walt Disney Company in Q3, much of Disney+’s growth came from countries other than the U.S. and Canada.

From Q1 to Q2, before the feud with Gov. Ron DeSantis over what they called the ‘Don’t Say Gay Bill’ – the Parental Rights in Education Act – domestic subscriber counts increased from 42.9 million to 44.4 million, by 1.5 million. For the same time frame, international subscribers increased from 41.1 million to 43.2 million, by 2.1 million.

However, Q2 to Q3, the time frame during and after the political feud with the Florida Republican governor, Disney’s domestic subscriber growth for the streaming service slowed to just 100,000, increasing to 44.5 million.

Internationally, Disney faired much better, going from the previous 43.2 million to 49.2 million, an increase of 6 million.

While domestic subscribers lacked, the global megacorporation still outperformed expectations with group revenues rising 26% to $21.5 billion. Disney’s parks drew in $7.4 billion, a 70% increase from last year as COVID-19 restrictions let up and guests returned to the vacation destinations.

“We had an excellent quarter, with our world-class creative and business teams powering outstanding performance at our domestic theme parks, big increases in live-sports viewership, and significant subscriber growth at our streaming services,” Disney CEO Bob Chapek said. “With 14.4 million Disney+ subscribers added in the fiscal third quarter, we now have 221 million total subscriptions across our streaming offerings.”  

In May, a poll from Axios found that the company’s reputation took a major hit after dipping its toes in sexual education for children.

Disney fell down the ladder from last year’s #37 rank in the “very good” category to #65 in the “good” category. The specific categorical scores for the Walt Disney Company are even worse.

Disney dropped from #41 in the Ethics category to #95; from #11 in the Vision category to #94; and from #47 in the Culture category to #93.

“Disney’s about face shows the reputational hit that comes when the public perceives you as being calculating rather than clear in what you believe in and stand for,” said John Gerzema, CEO of The Harris Poll.

A poll from the Daily Wire measured found that around two-thirds of Americans support banning sexual orientation and gender identity instructions for kids from grades K-3.

After Disney tried to interfere with the legislature’s passing and the governor’s signing of the Parental Rights law, DeSantis declared, “It’s important for companies like Disney to know. I don’t know how it’s been in the past in Florida, but I can tell you, with this sheriff in town you do not run the state of Florida. We are running this state with the best interest of the people of this state in mind.”

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