Disney Breaks Down Local-Language Content Plans Outside the U.S.

Disney has previously revealed it has 500 shows in the pipeline outside of the U.S., but on Wednesday, the company broke down for the first time how those planned local-language programs are being dispersed throughout global regions.

According to Christine M. McCarthy, senior executive vice president and chief financial officer, 140 of those shows are in the works in the Asia/Pacific region, including Southeast Asia; 150 are in the EMEA (Europe, Middle East and Africa) territories); 100 are set up in India; and 200 are being developed for Latin America.

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Elsewhere on the call, CEO Bob Chapek was pressed by analysts on another international topic: Disney’s lack of traction in recent months with getting its movies approved for release in China. Noting that the latest MCU release — “Dr. Strange and the Multiverse of Madness” — reached nearly $500 million worldwide in its opening weekend without a berth in China, the world’s most populous country. Chapek noted that the box office split in China is not as generous for distributors as it is in other overseas markets.

“It doesn’t really preclude our success, given the relatively lower take rate that we get in the box office in China compared to the rest of the world,” Chapek said.

Ahead of Disney’s quarterly earnings call Wednesday, the company reported Disney+ gained 7.9 million customers in the first three months of 2022 to reach 137.7 million subscribers total. That new figure is up 33% year over year. The stat beat analysts expectations, as Wall Street had forecast Disney+ would net 5.2 million new subscribers for the quarter ended March 31, per FactSet.

Disney+ is currently available in 64 countries across North America, Europe, Asia/Pacific, and Latin America. Disney Hotstar is offered by Disney in India.

Disney’s trio of streaming services reached 205.6 million globally (a quarterly net increase of 9.2 million, driven by Disney+). As of the end of the quarter, that included 45.6 million for Hulu (up 10% year over year) and 22.3 million for ESPN+ (up 62% year over year). Disney+ subs in the U.S./Canada region netted 1.5 million in the March 2022 quarter, to 44.4 million.

Also during the call, McCarthy said that, while previously Disney had expected fiscal ’22 content spending to be as much as $33 billion, it now projects about $32 billion because of a “slightly slower cadence of spending than anticipated” during the first half of 2022.

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