Disney+ Lost Millions of Subscribers For The First Time, Plan To Layoff Thousands

For the first time, Disney+ lost subscribers and the company may have rocky roads ahead.

Disney CEO Bob Iger announced Wednesday that 2.4 million subscribers left the streaming service in the quarter alone. It marks the first time that the company has lost subscribers since the streaming service launched in 2019. As a result of the subscriber loss, Iger announced his plan to 'restructure' the company - that will include 7,000 layoffs.

There's no single reason why millions of subscribers left the streaming platform, but a couple come to mind.


Yes, something that seems so difficult for major corporations to actually grasp sometimes.

During the pandemic everyone was stuck home. There was nothing else to do. We saw the rise of streaming and Netflix, Disney+ and the like absolutely crushed it with new subscribers and renewals. It made sense - what the heck else were we supposed to do?

But Disney+ is perhaps finding themselves in a similar fate as another company that rose to prominence during the pandemic - Peloton.

In December of 2021, Peloton's stock was $162.00. As of this writing it is $16.28 and the company is a shell of what it once was.

It's no surprise that subscriber numbers aren't going to remain as high as they once were during the pandemic. Once again, it's simple logic. Just as people despise that Peloton bike collecting dust in the corner of their room, without a doubt some people dropped Disney+ because they aren't stuck at home as much.


Forget Star Wars, we now have the Streaming Wars.

The world of streaming has gone the route of podcasts - completely and utterly oversaturated. Anybody and everybody "has a podcast" these days. And it seems that you aren't officially a media network unless you have a streaming service as well.

With so many options available, people are now having to cut the digital cord and pick and choose which channels, ergh I mean subscription services they want to keep.

Suddenly watching the terrible Aladdin remake might not be worth the additional money. Heck, many people still have cable as well as pay for the additional streaming services. One of Disney+ big sells for customers in recent years has been having the Star Wars rights. I can't tell you how many times I flip through my cable channels on a weekend and a Star Wars movie is playing. Sure it may not be the spin-off series, but if you want to see the Star Wars movies you don't need Disney+ anymore.


It can't go unsaid that some people cut their Disney+ subscriptions because of an ideological shift within the company.

Whether it was the Lightyear animated film getting crushed at the box office, to the Disney theme parks changing their announcement message from "Ladies and gentlemen, boys and girls" to "Good evening, dreams of all ages," some people have had enough with the Mouse and unsubscribed to prove their point.

Disney has also delved into the political world by publicly sparring with Florida Republican Governor Ron DeSantis over Florida's "Parental Rights in Education" bill - which opponents referred to as the "Don't Say Gay Bill." In response, DeSantis said this week that there is a "new sheriff in town," as a new bill that he is supporting would shift control of Disney's district to the governor.

In October, former Disney CEO Bob Chapek responded to critics saying the company has changed its direction by saying, "The world is a rich, diverse place, and we want our content to reflect that."


After yesterday's disappointed Disney+ numbers, CEO Bob Iger - who returned to the company in November, announced that they would be eliminating 7,000 jobs from its workplace.

The company announced the layoffs as part of their restructuring plan, that seeks to cut $5.5 billion in costs and $3 billion in content savings alone.

Clearly Disney is worried about the future ahead by making the significant moves.


One thing to be on the look out for is what happens with ESPN, which is owned by Disney.

Sports networks and sports rights are an EXPENSIVE undertaking that is only going to get costlier. Currently, Disney+ sports fans can upgrade to the "Disney Bundle," which includes ESPN+ and Hulu.

But if Disney ever got rid of ESPN, you can be sure that the subscriptions would obviously drop.

CEO Bob Iger said during yesterday's call that he isn't considering dropping ESPN, which is exactly what someone would say if they WERE going to get rid of a company. We've seen and heard it a thousand times! (Iger went on to say that they believe ESPN is a huge component for the company and that they are working on ideas to help monetize it)

But be it because of a shift in ideology, to pandering politics, to too many other streaming services, or hell - maybe it's just that the content isn't as great as it once was, the bottom line is that Iger has his work cut out for him.

If the subscriber numbers continue to drop throughout the year, then Iger will have to decide if it's an ideology and cultural problem that the company faces - or if it's moreso the content they produce.

Written by
Mike “Gunz” Gunzelman has been involved in the sports and media industry for over a decade. He’s also a risk taker - the first time he ever had sushi was from a Duane Reade in Penn Station in NYC.