By Lisa Richwine and Dawn Chmielewski
LOS ANGELES (Reuters) -Walt Disney Co edged past Netflix Inc with a total of 221 million streaming subscribers at the end of the most recent quarter and announced it will launch a Disney+ option with advertising this December.
Disney+ with ads will cost $7.99 per month, the same price the company now charges for the ad-free version, Disney said in a statement on Wednesday. The cost of Disney+ without ads will increase by $3 per month to $10.99 as of Dec. 8.
Prices for Hulu, also owned by Disney, will rise by $1 to $2 per month depending on the plan.
Shares of Disney, which had fallen 28% this year, rose 4% in after-hours trading to $116.85.
Disney in 2017 staked its future on building a streaming service to rival Netflix as audiences moved to online viewing from traditional cable and broadcast television.
In the just-ended quarter, Disney added 14.4 million Disney+ customers, beating the consensus of 10 million expected by analysts polled by FactSet, as it released "Star Wars" series "Obi-Wan Kenobi" and Marvel's "Ms. Marvel."
Combined with Hulu and ESPN+, Disney said it had 221.1 million streaming subscribers at the end of the June quarter. Netflix said it had 220.7 million streaming subscribers.
Disney posted adjusted earnings-per-share of $1.09, up 36% from a year earlier, as visitors packed its theme parks. Operating income more than doubled at the parks, experiences and products division to $3.6 billion.
Disney's streaming effort is still losing money, reporting a loss of $1.1 billion for the quarter. That put a drag on the media and entertainment unit, whose profit declined by 32% to nearly $1.4 billion.
Overall revenue rose 26% from a year earlier to $21.5 billion. A consensus of analysts polled by Refinitiv had projected revenue of $20.96 billion.
(Reporting by Lisa Richwine and Dawn Chmielewski in Los AngelesEditing by Kenneth Li, Peter Henderson and Matthew Lewis)