The Walt Disney Company released its 2018 annual report Wednesday, and the news is not good for its cable TV channels, which are following the industry trend of losing customers as more and more TV watchers cut the cable in favor of streaming services such as Netflix, Hulu, and CBS All Access.
Of Disney’s flagship cable properties, the worst hit are specialty networks, Disney Jr and Disney XD, both down more than 4% since 2017.
A troubling sign for Disney XD, which targets boys and young men with Marvel, Star Wars and action-oriented programming is that it fell from 90 million subscribers to 88 million in the past year. Adding to its troubles, the newest Star Wars series, Star Wars Resistance, skipped XD entirely and is airing on the main Disney Channel Sunday nights.
This could be an effort by the parent company to shore up the Disney Channel, which itself is bleeding subscribers. It went from 92 million subscribers this time last year to 89 million, a drop of more than 3 percent.
Disney’s Freeform channel, which has been primarily targeting millennial women, is faring slightly better – or less poorly – as its subscriber base only fell about 2.2 percent from 90 million in the same period.
Following the cable TV industry trends, no Disney cable networks shows year-over-year subscriber growth.