Fact check: Fact check: Disney+ has gained subscribers, not lost them




  • In Business
  • 2022-08-09 01:26:58Z
  • By USA TODAY

The claim: Disney+ lost 350,000 subscribers in a week

A meme being shared on Facebook claims Disney+ lost 350,000 subscribers in a week.

"350,000 cancellations of Disney+ in the past week," reads the text of the meme, which is accompanied by a political cartoon.

A July 16 post has been shared more than 1,500 times and accumulated more than 10,000 reactions, and a July 20 post has been shared more than 400 times.

But the claim isn't accurate. Disney's latest quarterly financial report shows Disney+ gained 7.9 million subscribers in the first three months of the year. The company does not share information about the number of subscribers to its streaming service aside from those reports, the company said in a statement to USA TODAY. 

Disney has recently faced criticism from conservatives, some of whom have threatened to boycott the company for taking a public stance on Florida's Parental Rights in Education law, known to critics as the "Don't Say Gay" law.

USA TODAY reached out to several users who shared the claim for comment.

Cinderella Castle inside Magic Kingdom Park is lit on October 11, 2020 at Walt Disney World in Lake Buena Vista, Florida.
Cinderella Castle inside Magic Kingdom Park is lit on October 11, 2020 at Walt Disney World in Lake Buena Vista, Florida.  

Disney streaming service gained subscribers

The 7.9 million subscribers gained by Disney+ in the first three months of the year brought the total number of subscribers up to 137.7 million as of April 2, up from 103.6 million a year earlier, according to the company's latest financial report.

Disney, though, recently made headlines for reasons unrelated to the growth of its streaming service.

In late March, Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed the Parental Rights in Education bill, known to critics as the "Don't Say Gay" bill, restricting classroom discussion of sexual orientation or gender identity. Disney, which is Florida's largest private employer, was initially criticized for its response to the legislation, but has since called for it to be repealed.

DeSantis, a Republican, criticized "woke" Disney's position on the legislation, saying the company bought into "false narratives" about the bill.

"You have companies like a Disney that are gonna say and criticize parents' rights, they're gonna criticize the fact that we don't want transgenderism in kindergarten and first-grade classrooms," he said.

Fact check: Post claiming Disney lost $2.4 billion is stolen satire

DeSantis went a step further in late April when he signed legislation that revoked Disney's self-governing authority, canceling privileges given to the company decades ago to govern the land surrounding its Florida-based theme park. The law, which takes effect in June 2023, will cost Disney tens of millions of dollars a year.

The claim that Disney+ lost subscribers, along with other claims of Disney's downfall, comes after some conservatives threatened to boycott Disney in response to its criticism of the "Don't Say Gay" law. 

Our rating: False

Based on our research, we rate FALSE the claim that Disney+ lost 350,000 subscribers in a week. Disney does not share information about subscribers outside of quarterly financial reports. The company's latest report shows Disney+ gained 7.9 million subscribers in the first three months of the year.

Our fact-check sources:

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Our fact-check work is supported in part by a grant from Facebook.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Fact check: Disney+ has gained subscribers, not lost them

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