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Disneys Streaming Growth Slows as Pandemic Lift Fades

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Disappointing growth of Walt Disney Cos namesake streaming service on Thursday overshadowed betterthanexpected overall profits, driving down shares of the entertainment company.

Shares of Disney fell 3.7 in afterhours trading.

CEO Robert Chapek said that movie and television shows were resuming normal production and new offerings would help bring in new customers to Disney, ESPN, Hulu and Hotstar.

Adjusted earningspershare for the fiscal second quarter came in at 79 cents for January through April 3, Disney said. Analysts had expected 27 cents, according to IBES data from Refinitiv.

Disney is focusing on quickly building its streaming service to challenge Netflix Inc as audiences move away from cable TV. The companys popular theme parks remain in recovery mode with attendance limits due to the COVID19 pandemic.

Disney growth is significantly decelerating as the initial pandemic boost has waned, eMarketer analyst Eric Haggstrom said. Given Disneys content investments, subscriber growth should return strongly once this shortterm turbulence ends.

Upcoming Disney series include Loki about the Marvel villain and Star Wars series The Book of Boba Fett.

A total of 103.6 million customers subscribed to Disney as of early April, the company said. Two Marvel superhero series, WandaVision and The Falcon and the Winter Soldier, debuted during the quarter. Analysts had projected 109.3 million, according to FactSet.

The average monthly revenue per paid subscriber for Disney…

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