While subscriptions are up big on a year to year basis, the quarter to quarter increases have dramatically slowed for ESPN+.
During Disney’s Q3 earnings call on Wednesday, the company announced that ESPN+ was up to 22.8 million subscribers. While that’s an increase of more than 50% from Q3 last year (14.9 million), it’s a far smaller increase when compared to the first two quarters of this fiscal year. In the first quarter, ESPN+ was at 21.3 million subscriptions, while in the second quarter, the number was 22.3 million.
The earnings also note “higher sports programming costs” at ESPN+ having an impact on lower results.
Lower results at ESPN+ were due to higher sports programming costs, partially offset by an increase in subscription revenue due to subscriber growth.
I really have no idea how the rights fees ESPN pays are split between cable and broadcast, but I assume a decent chunk of that increase is related to the company’s NHL deal, which started this past season.
It’s worth noting that even with the small increase, ESPN+ is still bringing in an average revenue per subscriber of $4.55/month (which is right around where it usually is, give or take a quarter), which translates into over $100 million per month in subscriber fees.
As we get into football season, I’d imagine we’d see an increase in subscribers, given that ESPN+ has an extensive library of live college football. ESPN+ will also carry an exclusive NFL game this fall, but that game takes place after the fourth quarter ends.