Disney Plus lost millions of subscribers at the start of 2023

Mando and Grogu in The Mandalorian
(Image credit: Disney/Lucasfilm)

Disney Plus lost four million subscribers in the opening three months of this year, which is its second consecutive drop in subscribers, per Variety. The streamer dropped 2.4 million subscribers in the closing three months of 2022. 

Disney finished up the first quarter of 2023 with 157.8 million subscribers, down from its 161.8 million at the end of 2022, contributed to by a 4.6 million drop on Disney Plus Hotstar, and a 300,000 loss in the US and Canada. But, around 1 million subscribers were added overseas in markets that don't include Hotstar. 

In an earnings call, Disney's CFO Christine McCarthy revealed that "certain content" will be removed from the company's streamers, with Disney anticipating this will lead to a third quarter writedown of between $1.5 and $1.8 billion. 

Warner Bros. Discovery made headlines for a similar strategy of removing content, most notably with the cancelation of Batgirl – despite the film already having been shot

McCarthy also added that, "going forward we intend to produce lower volumes of content in alignment with this strategic shift," though the cutbacks mostly won't go into effect until 2024 since so much has already been set for 2023. 

The news may come as some surprise as Disney's Star Wars juggernaut The Mandalorian season 3 began streaming in February. Disney Plus still has the likes of Star Wars show Ahsoka and Marvel series Loki season 2 and Secret Invasion to come this year. Kevin Feige has already indicated that the MCU will slow down on Disney Plus shows following a jam-packed Marvel Phase 4, which seems to align neatly with a new content strategy for Disney Plus. 

Shows like Ironheart, Echo, and Daredevil: Born Again still don't have release dates, while Star Wars also has Skeleton Crew, The Acolyte, and Andor season 2 still to come. The WGA writers' strike could complicate things further if it causes release date delays, but that remains to be seen. 

You can fill out your watchlist with our guide to the best shows on Disney Plus

Molly Edwards
Entertainment Writer

I'm an Entertainment Writer here at GamesRadar+, covering all things film and TV for the site's Total Film and SFX sections. I previously worked on the Disney magazines team at Immediate Media, and also wrote on the CBeebies, MEGA!, and Star Wars Galaxy titles after graduating with a BA in English.