Disney Reports Lackluster Fourth-Quarter Earnings, Stock Dips – Variety

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The Walt Disney Company on Thursday reported lackluster fourth-quarter earnings, dragged down by weaknesses in its movie studio and media networks division, together with additional ESPN subscriber losses.

Disney missed badyst expectations of $1.12 per share, reporting as an alternative earnings of $1.07 per share. The firm reported income of $12.eight billion, down three% from the earlier yr’s quarter.

The firm’s media networks — which embody cable and broadcast TV — noticed revenues slide three% to $5.5 billion and section working earnings declined 12% to $1.5 billion. ESPN, which has struggled in latest quarters as shoppers flip away from cable TV packages, once more noticed subscriber losses.

To counter rivals like Netflix, Disney has aggressively moved to launch its personal direct-to-consumer service, beginning with ESPN Plus, a sports activities streaming service launching subsequent yr. The firm introduced the identify Thursday.

In 2019, Disney will launch a Disney-branded streaming service for its movies and tv reveals. The Mouse House will ultimately pull its Disney, Pixar, and Lucasfilm titles from Netflix. Iger stated the subscription value for its streaming service shall be “substantially below” what Netflix fees, largely as a result of the streaming service can even have much less content material.

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Rian Johnson

In addition to its present library, the streamer can even embody authentic movies and TV collection. The firm introduced that it has closed a take care of director Rian Johnson to develop a brand new “Star Wars” trilogy. Disney can also be planning a live-action “Star Wars” TV collection to air on its leisure streaming service, anticipated to launch by the tip of 2019. In addition to the “Star Wars” TV collection, Disney is engaged on TV collection diversifications of Pixar’s “Monsters Inc.,” the Disney Channel’s “High School Musical” franchise, and an authentic entry from Marvel.

“We look forward to launching our first direct-to-consumer streaming service in the new year, and we will continue to invest for the future and take the smart risks required to deliver shareholder value,” Iger stated in an announcement.

The earnings report comes as Disney is claimed to be contemplating buying a few of Fox’s leisure belongings. Iger declined to touch upon the hypothesis.

Disney has dominated the field workplace lately, delivering hits from Pixar, Marvel, and Lucasfilm, which it acquired in 2006, 2009, and 2012, respectively. Responding to a query on whether or not Disney plans to proceed its dominance by different acquisitions, Iger stated Disney doesn’t “feel right now that we have a great need to add to the film slate that we have.”

On the movie studio facet, the quarterly decline was attributed to a lighter launch schedule this yr and the under-performance of “Cars 3” in contrast with “Finding Dory” in the identical quarter final yr. Disney’s main movies — “Thor: Ragnarok,” “Coco,” and “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” — are coming late within the yr, with “Thor” having simply debuted final week.

Parks and resorts delivered some excellent news for the corporate. Revenues for the quarter elevated 6% to $four.7 billion, regardless of the closure of home theme parks and cruise cancellations as a consequence of Hurricane Irma. Walt Disney World Resort closed for 2 days, three cruises have been canceled, and two others have been shortened.

Disney inventory initially tumbled three% in after-hours buying and selling Thursday, after closing at $102.68.

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