The Walt Disney Company

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  • Apr. 3, 2015, 3:51 PM
    • Fantasy sports is a big-money industry, and now Walt Disney (NYSE:DIS) is buying a piece with a $250M investment in DraftKings, The Wall Street Journal reports.
    • The investment values DraftKings -- where fantasy sports fanatics play each other with real money stakes -- at about $900M, and it comes with a nice benefit: DraftKings has committed to spend more than $500M on ESPN-platform ads in the coming years.
    • A rival company, FanDuel, has backing from Comcast (NASDAQ:CMCSA) -- and while FanDuel can keep advertising on ESPN, it won't get the premium slots that DraftKings will.
    • Compared with popular fantasy games already on ESPN, CBS and Yahoo, real-money businesses may tap into lucrative streams of revenue (rakes?) that aren't possible only on ad-supported platforms.
    • Previously: Report: ESPN considers jump into daily fantasy business (Jan. 05 2015)
    | Apr. 3, 2015, 3:51 PM | 16 Comments
  • Apr. 3, 2015, 10:00 AM
    • With a few small dramas and documentaries in competition, the way is clear for Universal's (NASDAQ:CMCSA) Furious 7 to dominate the box office, and early receipts suggest the film is well on track toward an April-record $115M weekend.
    • The seventh entry in the Fast and the Furious racing franchise pulled a strong $16.9M in a limited 34-market run on Wednesday, including 12 international markets. It opened in 33 more markets Thursday and will run in 63 markets over the weekend.
    • Other eyes will be on Home -- the high-stakes sole 2015 release for DreamWorks Animation (NASDAQ:DWA) -- to see if it can get legs from last week's strong $54M debut, and on whether Insurgent (NYSE:LGF) and Cinderella (NYSE:DIS) can stretch out gains from their female-heavy audience.
    | Apr. 3, 2015, 10:00 AM | 5 Comments
  • Apr. 2, 2015, 12:39 PM
    • Film studios have poured ever-increasing budgets into large franchises and "tentpole" films even as they scale back on mid-sized and budget releases, and with good reason, Robert Fishman says: It's led to skyrocketing profits for Warner Bros (NYSE:TWX), Fox (NASDAQ:FOXA), Disney (NYSE:DIS) and Paramount (VIA, VIAB).
    • Tbe MoffettNathanson analyst takes on the always-difficult task of parsing out film profits from entertainment companies' other financials, and estimates those four drew $3.5B in EBITDA from film, up 35% Y/Y, off $24.1B in film revenues (up 7.6%).
    • The global film market is helping drive the profit mix to bigger budget films, Fishman says.
    • He notes a few risk factors that could slow the profit train, including declines in both domestic attendance and home video sales, as well as more film releases and currency effects.
    • Previously: Global box office: 2014 boosted by Asia's moviegoers, especially in China (Mar. 12 2015)
    | Apr. 2, 2015, 12:39 PM
  • Apr. 1, 2015, 3:30 PM
    • Actavis (ACT -1%) should outperform following its purchase of Allergan, and FDA action dates for eluxadoline and cariprazine could also be catalysts.
    • Though Occidental Petroleum is the team's top pick in energy, Anadarko (APC +1.1%) is the best short-term play on a recovery in oil prices.
    • Strong fundamentals and easy year-over-year comps make AvalonBay (AVB -0.9%) a pick in apartment rentals.
    • A favorable Supreme Court ruling in King vs. Burwell by the end of June provides plenty of upside possibility with little downside for HCA Holdings (HCA -0.8%).
    • Also on the buy list are Ingersoll-Rand (IR -1.5%), Nvidia (NVDA +0.2%), UTX (UTX -1.1%), and Disney (DIS +0.4%).
    • Making the underperform list is the Gap (GPS -2.2%) thanks to less room for cost cutting and a forecast for continued weakness in sales. Also a Q2 sell: Tesla (TSLA -1%) " lacks any real technological advantage over its competitors" says the team, seeing a significant Q1 loss, an increase in the already-high cash burn, and a questionable delivery outlook.
    • Source: Benzinga
    | Apr. 1, 2015, 3:30 PM | 50 Comments
  • Mar. 30, 2015, 3:56 PM
    • Keeping its quite successful live-action remake train rolling, Disney (DIS +0.7%) will make a new version of Mulan, its 1998 animated film about a legendary Chinese warrior, The Hollywood Reporter says.
    • The film would join an in-progress Beauty and the Beast remake, as well as versions of The Jungle Book and Dumbo, and follow in the footsteps of last year's Maleficent (which earned $758M worldwide) and the newly released Cinderella ($336M worldwide and counting).
    • The animated Mulan earned $304M globally and earned Golden Globe and Oscar nominations.
    • Previously: Disney downgraded; sets 'Beauty and the Beast' for 2017 (Mar. 16 2015)
    • Previously: Box office: $70.1M fits Disney's No. 1 'Cinderella' (Mar. 16 2015)
    | Mar. 30, 2015, 3:56 PM | 5 Comments
  • Mar. 30, 2015, 9:52 AM
    • DreamWorks Animation (NASDAQ:DWA) is up 8.2% after Home -- its only film release for 2015 -- led the weekend box office and beat its own expectations with $54M, the company's third-largest non-sequel opening.
    • Following a series of flops for DWA, the film was expected to draw about $30M-$35M.
    • Home is another standout child-focused success in a year filled with adult fare so far. R-rated prison comedy Get Hard (NYSE:TWX) took the No. 2 spot, drawing $34.6M.
    • Insurgent (NYSE:LGF) and Cinderella (NYSE:DIS) followed those two, adding to their considerable takes with $22M and $17.5M respectively. New foreign markets joined Cinderella, pushing it to more than $300M globally, and Insurgent has made $180M worldwide.
    • Kingsman: The Secret Service is a hit with legs for Twenty-First Century Fox (NASDAQ:FOXA), plugging away at sixth place this week (its seventh) with $3M, and passing $300M globally.
    • Previously: DreamWorks up 7.7%, on two-day surge as planning takes shape (Mar. 04 2015)
    | Mar. 30, 2015, 9:52 AM | 5 Comments
  • Mar. 27, 2015, 8:21 AM
    • Fancy Nancy lands a major TV deal with Disney (NYSE:DIS) that could set up the book series to be the next big franchise.
    • Disney Junior says its will produce a TV movie, weekly show, and develop consumer products around the sassy young girl.
    • Big-screen movies could follow.
    • HarperCollins (NASDAQ:NWS) owns some of the rights to Fancy Nancy.
    | Mar. 27, 2015, 8:21 AM | 5 Comments
  • Mar. 25, 2015, 1:43 PM
    • ESPN would have to charge $36.30 per subscriber in an a la carte world to keep its margins level, according to some number-crunching from MoffettNathanson.
    • Sports-heavy TNT would have to charge $8.95 a sub under the same scenario.
    • Most analysts agree that live sports programming has the best chance at pulling in lush pricing, but not at the levels indicated by the MoffettNathanson analysis.
    • The threat to revenue from a cable world unbundled could be one reason Disney (DIS -1.6%) and Time Warner (TWX -0.9%) appear to be dabbling with direct sports programming on demand .
    • Previously: NBA commissioner to announce new rights deals with Disney, Time Warner today (Oct. 06 2014)
    • Previously: ESPN to dabble with a la carte soccer package (May. 27 2014)
    | Mar. 25, 2015, 1:43 PM | 8 Comments
  • Mar. 24, 2015, 4:31 AM
    • Opening up a new door for the sports-media industry, the NFL has announced it would test placing one football game this season on a national digital platform and not on national television, as a trial effort to understand the market for digital rights.
    • In another sweeping change, the league has decided to scrap its controversial blackout rule, which prohibits local broadcasts of games if they aren't sold out 72 hours before kickoff, for the 2015 season.
    • Related tickers: CBS, FOXA, CMCSA, DIS, DTV
    | Mar. 24, 2015, 4:31 AM | 4 Comments
  • Mar. 23, 2015, 3:48 PM
    • Dystopian-teen movie Insurgent (LGF +0.2%) led the box office for the weekend, logging $54M to pass a still-strong Cinderella (NYSE:DIS) with $34.5M.
    • Insurgent -- the second adaptation from a Veronica Roth book series -- drew slightly less than the year-ago first film, Divergent -- a mild disappointment for Lions Gate, which plans two more films to close out the book trilogy, though the studio notes a lack of upcoming teenage-girl competition as promising.
    • Aside from the female-driven leaders, receipts were disappointing. The Gunman, starring Sean Penn, limped to $5M to finish fourth, just ahead of six-week veteran Kingsman: The Secret Service, (NASDAQ:FOXA) which has earned $114.6M in its run.
    • The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water (VIA, VIAB) took the last spot in the top 10 in its seventh week with $2.4M (total gross: $158.8M).
    | Mar. 23, 2015, 3:48 PM
  • Mar. 18, 2015, 1:39 PM
    • Sony (SNE +3.9%) has launched its PlayStation Vue streaming video service in three cities, with a starting price of $50/month.
    • It's been testing the service since November and had planned to launch this month in New York, Chicago and Philadelphia for PlayStation 3 and 4 users, though the price and lineup were open (and vital) questions. The service will spread to other cities and to iPads soon.
    • Overall the service features more than 85 channels, though the $50 package has some 50 stations and $60/month and $70/month packages add local sports and music/lifestyle/family channels respectively.
    • The lineup features content from three of the big four (CBS, Fox, NBC) as well as stations from Discovery, Scripps, Turner and Viacom. AMC content will join from April.
    • Disney (NYSE:DIS) -- and its popular content from ABC, ESPN and Disney cable -- is still a glaring omission. Sony VP Eric Lempel says more content deals are in progress.
    • The interface features time-shifting for the last three days of "popular programming," which might give it a leg up on Sling TV's (NASDAQ:DISH) limited capability there.
    • The price is raising eyebrows, as it's competing with Sling TV's $20/month price point (but with more content). "Sony has built the Cadillac plan of Internet TV: It's big, it's shiny and it's expensive," says Jason Abbruzzese.
    • Previously: Report: Sony talking with Disney about PlayStation Vue inclusion (Feb. 10 2015)
    | Mar. 18, 2015, 1:39 PM | 11 Comments
  • Mar. 16, 2015, 10:33 PM
    • The TV service that Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) is talking about (per WSJ) would be anchored by major broadcasters ABC (NYSE:DIS), CBS and Fox (NASDAQ:FOXA) -- but leaving out NBC (NASDAQ:CMCSA) because of hard feelings might make Apple's plan a harder sell.
    • WSJ's Shalini Ramachandran notes Dish Network (NASDAQ:DISH) launched Sling TV without Fox and NBC, and Sony (NYSE:SNE) Vue without Disney ... which might make this yet another messy middle step toward some customers' a la carte dreams.
    • The big broadcasters aren't all, though -- the talks with Disney could bring ESPN, and there may be other basic cable additions, though the ultimate package is likely to end up as a "skinny" bundle that leaves out the typically large number of channels in typical pay TV tiers.
    • According to the report, the service would work across all iOS devices: iPhones, iPads, Apple TVs.
    • Previously: WSJ: Apple talking Web TV service for fall launch (Mar. 16 2015)
    | Mar. 16, 2015, 10:33 PM | 62 Comments
  • Mar. 16, 2015, 10:06 PM
    • Apple (NASDAQ:AAPL) is in talks to launch a Web TV service this fall -- featuring about 25 channels (including ABC (NYSE:DIS), CBS and Fox (NASDAQ:FOXA)), costing $30-$40, and available on devices like Apple TV, according to The Wall Street Journal.
    • NBC (NASDAQ:CMCSA) isn't in the talks right now because of a falling-out between Apple and NBCUniversal owner Comcast over last year's negotiations, the paper says.
    • An announcement could come in June for a September launch.
    | Mar. 16, 2015, 10:06 PM | 74 Comments
  • Mar. 16, 2015, 5:18 PM
    • Disney's (DIS +0.9%) Cinderella had its box office figure revised down to $67.9M, a slightly bigger adjustment than usual, but still leaving enough for a runaway win for the weekend.
    • It does mean that Cinderella's debut wasn't quite as good as last year's live-action Maleficent, which pulled $69.4M -- though that film had Angelina Jolie star power working for it.
    • BTIG downgraded Disney, to Neutral from Buy -- but mainly on valuation concerns, as analyst Richard Greenfield sees more upside elsewhere, such as in Netflix. Of Disney: "Even off of 2017, you're now approaching pretty high-teens multiples for earnings ... It's just harder to see how this is a $130-$140 stock." Disney closed today at $107.37.
    • Disney used Cinderella's momentum to set its next live-action adaptation, Beauty and the Beast, for March 17, 2017. The film will star Emma Watson (Harry Potter's Hermione) as Belle and Downton Abbey's Dan Stevens as the Beast. Kevin Kline and Emma Thompson have other roles, Bill Condon will direct, and Alan Menken (veteran of the animated film) will create new songs.
    | Mar. 16, 2015, 5:18 PM | 26 Comments
  • Mar. 16, 2015, 11:25 AM
    • Disney's (NYSE:DIS) live-action Cinderella reinvigorated a lackluster box office, taking a runaway lead with $70.1M to claim the domestic crown, and pulling a huge $132M worldwide, including $25M from China.
    • Cinderella far outpaced the week's other debut film -- Run All Night (NYSE:TWX), starring Liam Neeson, which drew $11.1M to hold off Kingsman: The Secret Service (NASDAQ:FOXA) at $6.2M. In its fifth week, Kingsman has drawn $107.4M total for Fox.
    • Will Smith in Focus (TWX) was No. 4 with $5.81M and South African robot sci-fi Chappie (NYSE:SNE) rounded out the top five with $5.8M. Still in the top 10 are hits The SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water (VIA, VIAB) at No. 7 with $4.1M ($154.7M total) and American Sniper (TWX), No. 9 with $2.93M ($341.5M total).
    • The success of Cinderella may be quite timely for Disney, which is already planning development on live-action versions of Dumbo and Beauty and the Beast, as well as The Jungle Book.
    • Previously: Global box office: 2014 boosted by Asia's moviegoers, especially in China (Mar. 12 2015)
    | Mar. 16, 2015, 11:25 AM | 5 Comments
  • Mar. 14, 2015, 8:00 AM
    • Sony Pictures Television (NYSE:SNE) is within a few weeks of a deal to sell the episode library of hit '90s sitcom Seinfeld to a video streaming service: Hulu (CMCSA, DIS, FOXA), Yahoo (NASDAQ:YHOO), or (NASDAQ:AMZN), and thus maybe to a whole new generation of viewers.
    • Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX) won't be among them, though, as it's passing -- which gives competitors a chance to nab a TV crown jewel and make up some ground in a content-acquisition arms race.
    • Seinfeld -- a show that has generated more than $2.7B in syndication sales alone -- has 180 episodes, each of which should draw well over $500K in what should be a long multi-year agreement.
    • While Sony has distribution rights and is making the deal, most of the revenue would likely go to Time Warner (NYSE:TWX), owner of Seinfeld producer Castle Rock Entertainment.
    • Previously: Now a friendly deal between Time Warner and Netflix (Oct. 15 2014)
    • Previously: CBS next to join Sony's online TV service (Nov. 06 2014)
    • Previously: Bernstein: Amazon spending $2.5B+ on content next year (Oct. 13 2014)
    | Mar. 14, 2015, 8:00 AM | 17 Comments
Company Description
Walt Disney Co together with its subsidiaries is a diversified entertainment company with operations in five business segments: Media Networks, Parks and Resorts, Studio Entertainment, Consumer Products and Interactive.