June 16, 2024

It’s been five years in the making, but Disney nearly turned a profit in its streaming units for the first time in the fiscal second quarter, losing just $18 million between Disney+, Hulu and ESPN+. That’s improvement from a loss of $659 million a year ago.

Stripping out ESPN+, Disney+ and Hulu actually made money in the quarter — $47 million. Last year in the second quarter, Disney+ and Hulu lost $587 million.

All of the big legacy media firms have been operating under the assumption that streaming will eventually overtake cable TV as the main source of revenue. Disney, Paramount Global, and Warner Bros. Discovery do this because

and NBCUniversal, a division of Comcast, all developed their own paid streaming services.

Although it hasn’t happened yet, this quarter seems to be the sign that it will soon. Disney’s traditional linear TV statistics were terrible, in addition to the fact that the business almost turned a profit in streaming.

Because ESPN was so profitable inside the traditional TV industry’s walled garden, Disney resisted releasing the sports network outside of the bundle for a long time. Those times are almost gone as well. Disney and Warner Bros. are launching a more compact package of linear cable channels.

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