Wed, Nov. 11, 9:35 AM
- Bob Iger -- chairman and CEO of Walt Disney (NYSE:DIS) -- is reportedly becoming chairman of the joint effort by the San Diego Chargers and Oakland Raiders to build a Los Angeles-area stadium.
- The project to build a new stadium in Carson, Calif., could push those teams to the L.A. market as soon as next season. Carson is in the south Los Angeles area, southeast of LAX and West of Disneyland home Anaheim.
- In the move, which the clubs could announce shortly, Iger would oversee all major initiatives with the stadium venture, guiding construction and operation.
- That project is competing with one led by Stan Kroenke, owner of the St. Louis Rams, to build a stadium in Inglewood and relocate. The Rams, Chargers and Raiders are in New York for a critical meeting to discuss Los Angeles relocations.
- If the Carson project goes forward, Iger could purchase a pre-arranged portion of either the Chargers or Raiders.
- Iger's contract with Disney expires in 2018, while he has a five-year deal and two-year option with the Carson stadium project.
Mon, Nov. 9, 12:46 PM
- As expected, hits returned to the box office this weekend after a few weeks of drought, with Bond beating Brown (... Charlie Brown).
- Spectre (SNE -0.7%) drew $73M to become the second-biggest debut in the James Bond series, behind 2012's Skyfall, which scored $88M in its opening. After an early opening overseas, Spectre is strong internationally with $200M this weekend and cumulative numbers that topped $300M.
- Spectre has a bit of a haul to profitability, though, as its production budget hit $250M.
- Meanwhile, The Peanuts Movie (FOX -2%, FOXA -2.1%) won by counterprogramming for families, scoring $45M, with 38% of the audience under 18 and giving positive word of mouth.
- Fox's The Martian, which marked a number of weeks at the top against weaker fare, grossed $9.3M to hold third place ($197.1M in six weeks) while Sony's Goosebumps got $7M for fourth ($66.4M cumulative) and Bridge of Spies (DIS distributing) $6.1M for fifth ($55M cumulative).
- Coming after the worst week of the year, this weekend likely puts the film industry back on track for the first ever $11B year in domestic box office.
Fri, Nov. 6, 6:22 PM
- Over-the-top video service Hulu has undergone a transformative year, adding ad-limited and ad-free subscription tiers, putting heavy investment into new content and exclusives, and focusing on building rather than selling, as it builds up to take on heavyweight Netflix and Amazon.com's video service.
- Its corporate parents -- NBCUniversal (NASDAQ:CMCSA), Disney (NYSE:DIS) and Fox (FOX, FOXA) -- are happy with that approach for now, which is good, as Hulu loses more money in the buildup.
- In Disney's earnings call, COO Tom Staggs acknowledged Hulu would keep stepping up programming investment, "and that will continue to increase their losses in the near term."
- The market is big enough, though, and "we feel good about where they're going strategically."
- In recent interviews, Hulu CEO Mike Hopkins has made clear the service isn't currently pursuing international expansion -- a sharp contrast with Netflix -- and that after the corporate parents eschewed a 2013 sale, an IPO or sale isn't in the near future until it builds up more.
Thu, Nov. 5, 6:18 PM
- Disney (NYSE:DIS) went into its earnings call relatively flat in after-hours trading and is now up fractionally as execs took questions about the film pipeline, parks, and cable TV.
- While CEO Bob Iger used the beginning of last quarter's earnings call to talk about ESPN subscriber losses -- talk blamed for driving media stocks down overall this summer -- the Q4 call started out all Star Wars. The company's pleased with ticket-sales excitement and looking ahead to videogames like Star Wars: Battlefront and a cavalcade of associated merchandise.
- Disney can't recognize revenue from the already-begun sales of (new) Star Wars consumer products until the movie opens, though execs say they're excited for the eventual inclusion in Q1, and merchandise tied to the previous films is building strength.
- ESPN was downplayed despite questions. There's nothing he'd retract from previous comments, Iger says: "We decided to be candid, I think refreshingly so, regarding sub losses in the last period. We feel there should be no reason to panic over comments like that ... We feel bullish about ESPN and ESPN's business."
- On the ESPN layoffs: "The best interpretation is that you should see it as not connected to anything else."
- With DisneyLife launching as a direct service in the UK, "We see the opportunity to grow across other markets," Iger says. "We are very interested in taking content directly to consumers as a company."
- Disney is declining to provide an outlook for the road ahead, though Iger did drop a minor bombshell on CNBC: "I can only tell you that Luke Skywalker is in the movie."
- Previously: Disney -1.3% after Q3 profit beats; revenues miss despite 9% growth (Nov. 05 2015)
- Previously: After months of dealing, Disney networks joining PlayStation Vue service (Nov. 05 2015)
Thu, Nov. 5, 4:26 PM
- Walt Disney (NYSE:DIS) has slipped 1.3% after hours in the wake of its fiscal Q4 report where profits beat solidly but revenues came up slightly short.
- EPS rose 10% on a GAAP basis and 35% on a non-GAAP basis, to $1.20. CEO Bob Iger noted fiscal 2015 brought "the highest revenue, net income and adjusted EPS in the company's history."
- Revenues by segment: Media Networks, $5.83B (up 12%); Parks & Resorts, $4.36B (up 10%); Studio Entertainment, $1.78B (flat); Consumer Products, $1.2B (up 11%); Interactive, $347M (down 4%).
- Again, Interactive was the revenue disappointment, though its operating income rose 72% to $31M. In operating income, Studio Entertainment more than doubled, to $530M; Media Networks was up 27%, to $1.8B; Parks and Resorts posted $738M (up 7%)and Consumer Products $416M (up 10%).
- Earlier today, the company noted it was adding its TV networks to PlayStation Vue streaming service after months of negotiation.
- Conference call to come at 5 p.m. ET.
- Press Release
Thu, Nov. 5, 4:17 PM
Thu, Nov. 5, 11:42 AM
- Ahead of earnings coming this afternoon, Walt Disney (DIS -0.8%) has signed an agreement with Sony's PlayStation Vue (SNE -0.5%) to bring Disney networks to the streaming video service.
- The deal (which doesn't yet have a launch date) includes the company's major channels as well as smaller ones -- ESPN, ABC TV, Disney Channel, Fusion, the Longhorn Network -- and an "extensive" on-demand library of Disney content.
- Disney's programming was a glaring omission when the Vue service launched in March, offering some 50 channels for $50/month, though Sony said it was continuing to work on content deals at that time.
- In contrast to Disney's deal with Sling TV, the pact with Vue allows for multiple simultaneous streams in a household -- likely a dealbreaker issue considering the volume of children's content. It also follows on Disney's trial balloon of its DisneyLife subscription service in the UK.
- Previously: Disney up 1% as it rolls out DisneyLife subscription service to UK (Oct. 21 2015)
- Previously: Sony launches its 'cable killer' streaming video service (Mar. 18 2015)
Wed, Nov. 4, 5:35 PM
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Wed, Nov. 4, 11:16 AM
- Cable TV networks are sinking in reaction to sharply lowered guidance from Time Warner (NYSE:TWX), which is using its conference call to lower expectations for ratings and subscribers in 2016.
- Disney (NYSE:DIS) was positive earlier but has tumbled 2.6%; Twenty-First Century Fox is off (FOX -4.6%, FOXA -4.9%); Viacom has sunk (VIA -5.2%, VIAB -6.2%); Discovery Communications as well (DISCA -4.3%).
- AMC Networks (NASDAQ:AMCX) is off 3.5% and Starz (NASDAQ:STRZA) down 2.1%.
- Time Warner is now -10% in reaction to its conference call, still ongoing.
- Previously: Time Warner dives 7.9%, cutting 2016 outlook on call (Nov. 04 2015)
- Previously: Time Warner -0.7% early after Q3 beats on strength at HBO, Warner Bros. (Nov. 04 2015)
Tue, Nov. 3, 3:35 PM
- Fox (FOX +1.3%, FOXA +1.3%) is trying out a new ad model on Hulu -- the streaming service competing against two rivals with no ads at all.
- Fox subsidiary TrueX has a new "engagement ad" that it will be introducing on Fox programs on Hulu, but making available to other media companies. It allows viewers the option of choosing a 30-second interactive ad rather than a longer ad load that usually accompanies the programs (if viewers aren't already on the ad-free tier).
- “The whole purpose is to get out this heavy ad-loading environment, where consumers are ad blocking and consumers are ad avoiding,” says TrueX chief Joe Marchese.
- Snack maker Mondelez has signed up as a launch partner for the ads, which at first will only be on devices where clicking is easy before moving to set-top boxes.
- Hulu -- owned along with Fox by Disney (DIS +0.6%) and NBCUniversal (CMCSA -0.3%) -- recently added two higher-priced tiers for "limited" commercials or completely ad-free, though at its base it's hoping to fix an interruptive ad model that is running into resistance as consumers adopt ad blockers.
- Previously: Hulu CEO: Ad-free model is adding net subscribers (Sep. 29 2015)
Tue, Nov. 3, 12:54 PM
- A&E and Vice Media make their channel plan official, setting up Viceland to launch as a 24-hour network, programmed by Vice, in early 2016.
- The channel, featuring hundreds of hours of new programming, will be distributed initially in about 70M homes and overseen by Oscar-winning director Spike Jonze.
- As previously reported, the move has been in the works since A&E -- part-owned by Hearst and Disney (DIS +0.8%) -- put $250M into Vice for a 10% stake last year, though it had to overcome a lone holdout in DirecTV to rebranding A&E's H2 channel.
- Vice will get a minority interest in the channel, and in exchange, A&E's interest in Vice goes to 20%. Disney is still expected to make a separate $200M investment in Vice.
- Viceland plans a full slate of prime-time shows with a youth focus that can expand on A&E's existing network portfolio, including Gaycation with Ellen Page and Ian Daniel, Vice World of Sports, Noisey, Party Legends, Weediquette and more.
Mon, Nov. 2, 9:10 PM
- After a long simmer, Vice Media -- which has previously bonded in partnerships with HBO (NYSE:TWX) and Fox (FOX, FOXA) -- is set to announce its own TV channel.
- The Vice-branded network is set to build itself on the bones of A&E's H2 network in an announcement that could come tomorrow, The Wall Street Journal reports, and along with that comes a new $200M investment from Disney (NYSE:DIS), co-owner of A&E with Hearst.
- Vice Media chief Shane Smith has said that the company's revenue is on track for $1B, though sources say that the company's financials suggest revenue this year is closer to less than $500M in GAAP terms.
- “We don’t view any discrepancies,” said a Vice spokesman. “We’re on pace to book a billion dollars."
- A&E agreed last year to buy about 10% of Vice for $250M; the deal that would put Vice into H2's slot is likely to get A&E's total ownership to more than 15%, sources said.
Mon, Nov. 2, 1:35 PM
- The Martian (FOX +0.7%, FOXA +0.9%) continues to benefit from a dismal month for new film releases, taking the top spot for the fourth time in its five weeks of release as a number of debuts stumbled.
- The Matt Damon sci-fi adventure drew $11.4M (bringing its domestic total to $182.8M), and Goosebumps (SNE +1.4%) and Bridge of Spies (distributed by DIS +1.3%) benefited from weak competition as well, pulling $10.2M and $8.1M respectively to take the No. 2 and No. 3 spots.
- Bradley Cooper dramedy Burnt was the best of the new, taking the fifth spot with $5M, while Sandra Bullock-starring Our Brand is Crisis (distributed by TWX +1.5%) became the worst wide opener of her career, pulling just $3.4M from 2,202 theaters to finish eighth.
- A Halloween conflict with usually-busy Saturday was even worse than expected, as overall ticket sales dropped below the $75M mark, the worst weekend of the year.
- “All I can say is thank God Charlie Brown and James Bond are coming to save the day,” said Rentrak's Paul Dergarabedian.
Fri, Oct. 30, 9:03 AM
- Goodbaby International (OTC:GBBYF) is up 10% since China announced it would end a one-child policy, while China Child Care Corp. (OTC:PFGHF) has shot up over 35%.
- Japanese baby bottle maker Pigeon Corp. (OTC:PIGEF, OTCPK:PGENY) and diaper maker Unicharm (OTCPK:UNICY, OTCPK:UNCHF) are solidly higher in Tokyo.
- Many local formula companies saw their stocks rose in Hong Kong trading, while Mead Johnson Nutrition (NYSE:MJN) was a favored play of U.S.-based investors. Disney (NYSE:DIS) and Kimberly-Clark (NYSE:KMB) are also getting some attention as multinationals that could benefit.
- The big loser? Shares of condom maker Okamoto Industries are down sharply over the last two days.
- There is plenty of disagreement from analysts on how much population in China will change due to the new policy.
Wed, Oct. 28, 8:12 PM
- Star Wars: The Force Awakens (NYSE:DIS) still hasn't locked down a release in key market China, according to execs on the Imax earnings call, though they are hopeful that it can come in January.
- China maintains a 34-film quota for foreign releases and that number's been hit for 2015. So Disney needed to push to 2016.
- “We’re hopeful and optimistic" for a January release, says Imax Entertainment (NYSE:IMAX) President Greg Foster. "But until the date is finalized it’s only a ‘guesstimate.' " With heavy investment in China, Imax may need a quick China release even more than Disney.
- Imax chief Richard Gelfond said he thinks that within two years, China would pass North America to become the No. 1 movie market.
- Imax rose 1.9% after hours following its earnings release.
- Previously: Imax -0.4% after in-line profits, 40% gain in revenues (Oct. 28 2015)
Mon, Oct. 26, 4:06 PM
- It's not just Walt Disney (DIS +0.4%) that could get a lift from a strong Star Wars performance, but the entertainment sector at large could benefit as well, FBR & Co. says.
- That came from notes where analyst Barton Crockett reiterated an Outperform rating on Disney and for Time Warner (TWX +0.1%).
- He's got a $124 price target on Disney, and raised Q4 EPS estimates to $1.12 from $1.09. Shares closed today at $113.52, implying 9.3% upside.
- “Disney's Star Wars reboot is the main source of excitement in the group," Crockett says. "We also see pockets of audience and ad trend improvement that, in some instances, could be modestly helpful, versus low expectations.”
- Early indicators (likely including ticket presales) support the case that Star Wars: The Force Awakens could become the biggest film ever, he says, and Q3 licensed product sales were well above expectations.
- As for Time Warner, FBR raised its Q3 EPS estimate to $1.09 from $1.05 driven by timing of TV syndication delivery and factoring in film disappointments, including Pan. Crockett estimates 600K subs to HBO Now by the end of the quarter. He has a $91 target on Time Warner, 24% upside from today's close of $73.35.
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.
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