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Disney vows to boost content spending to $33bn, driven by D2C growth

The Walt Disney Company is planning to spend around US$33bn on content over the next year across originals, licensed content and sports rights, marking an US$8bn increase from the previous year.

Bob Chapek

The increase is driven by a higher level of investment to support its direct-to-consumer (D2C) expansion, according to its annual report, filed with the US Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) on Wednesday.

As of October 2, Disney had around 179 million subscribers across its three main streaming products: Disney+ (118 million, up from 73.7 million a year ago), ESPN+ (17 million, up from 10.3 million) and Hulu (44 million, up from 36.6 million).

While Disney did not give a breakdown of how the US$33bn would be spent, it said its Studios division, which includes Walt Disney Pictures, Twentieth Century Studios, Marvel, Lucasfilm, Pixar and Searchlight Pictures, plans to produce about 50 titles across films and episodic TV for distribution theatrically and on its D2C platforms.

Meanwhile, its General Entertainment division, which includes ABC Signature, 20th Television, Disney Branded Television, FX Productions and National Geographic Studios, will produce 60 unscripted series, 30 comedy series, 25 drama series, 15 docuseries/limited series, 10 animated series, five made-for-TV movies and numerous specials and shorts.

To put Disney’s planned spending into context, Netflix in April said it plans to spend around US$17bn on content over the coming year, while Discovery and WarnerMedia, which are merging in a deal expected to close next year, will spend a combined US$20bn.

Earlier this month, Disney CEO Bob Chapek told investors it has more than 340 local originals in various stages of development and production for its D2C platforms, with a total content budget of US$8bn-9bn expected by the fiscal year 2024.


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