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The Walt Disney Company (DIS)

  • Tue, Sep. 29, 5:28 PM
    • In musical TV news, Starz (STRZA -1.9%) has expanded its partnership with rapper Curtis "50 Cent" Jackson, executive producer of its biggest original hit, Power.
    • A new two-year exclusive deal means that Jackson's G Unit Film & Television will produce new projects for the network along with keeping Jackson on to star in and produce Power.
    • In other rap collaborations, ABC Family (DIS +1%) gives the go-ahead to a new series from Nicki Minaj, who like Jackson will executive produce and star in her show. It'll be based on immigration with her family from Trinidad.
    | Tue, Sep. 29, 5:28 PM | 5 Comments
  • Tue, Sep. 8, 10:35 AM
    • Walt Disney (DIS +2.1%) is working to put the "anywhere" into its Movies Anywhere offering, expanding the streaming service to Video and Microsoft Movies and TV today, with a move to Roku devices and Android TV next week.
    • The service had launched on iTunes, Google Play and Vudu last year. Disney says the new expansion will bring its cloud videos to 90% of the digital retail market.
    • The move builds on the service's value proposition for many parents who see value in owning Disney content rather than renting it: Buy Frozen once, leave it in the cloud and view in any number of places or devices.
    • The expansion also comes ahead of Disney's 2016 deal with Netflix -- which focuses on new films rather than library content that has sometimes been hard to find on streaming services.
    | Tue, Sep. 8, 10:35 AM | 5 Comments
  • Wed, Aug. 26, 2:58 PM
    • The only "big" thing moviegoers are likely to see over the year-end holidays is Star Wars: The Force Awakens, as Disney (DIS +2.1%) sets an exclusive pact to take over every Imax (IMAX +1.5%) screen in North America (and most overseas as well).
    • The deal applies to the first four weeks of the film's run, opening Dec. 18. It's unusual for Imax to set aside every screen this way, but the company had done it before, with the Hobbit movies in a 2011 deal.
    • Rivals with Imax-friendly releases might feel the pressure. Warner's In the Heart of the Sea opens Dec. 11 and will get a week before the exclusive, and Fox's The Revenant opens Jan. 18 and then will try to claw into Imax screens against what might be a juggernaut.
    • November's James Bond sequel Spectre and The Hunger Games: Mockingjay -- Part 2 will clear out of the big-screen format by mid-December.
    | Wed, Aug. 26, 2:58 PM | 3 Comments
  • Wed, Aug. 26, 9:21 AM
    • Disney (NYSE:DIS) -- up 2.8% premarket after five days where it declined more than 10% -- will splash the debut of toys tied to Star Wars: The Force Awakens in an "unboxing event" live on YouTube.
    • The event will span 15 locations and take place over 18 hours next Wednesday and Thursday, starting with the first unboxing in Sydney at 5:45 p.m. ET Wednesday (7:45 a.m. local time).
    • A new toy will be showcased at each location, wrapping up at Lucasfilm in San Francisco at 11 a.m. ET on Thursday, Sept. 3.
    • Disney will host the video live on its Star Wars YouTube channel.
    | Wed, Aug. 26, 9:21 AM | 6 Comments
  • Tue, Aug. 25, 1:14 PM
    • Making its first trip into automated ad sales, streaming video service Hulu is setting up a private ad exchange that will let brands combine their data with Hulu's information on viewership to find the right audience.
    • The new exchange will run on Facebook's LiveRail technology, and indeed could make buying Hulu ads more like buying ads on Facebook or other Web services.
    • It's "a bit of a watershed for the premium video-on-demand space," says Hulu's Peter Naylor, who says the sales force won't be left out: "I'm going to enable my grown-up sales force who sell sponsorships to also sell programmatically. We're not going to put programmatic in a silo."
    • Hulu - co-owned by NBCUniversal (CMCSA +1.6%), Disney (DIS +3.6%) and Fox (FOXA +2.4%) - will make all of its ad inventory available through the exchange, with the exception (for now) of high-end sales like show-specific sponsorships.
    | Tue, Aug. 25, 1:14 PM | 1 Comment
  • Mon, Aug. 24, 6:02 PM
    • Chief Content Officer Erin McPherson and senior VP of Marketing Jeremy Welt have left multichannel video producer Maker Studios, in the network's highest-profile executive departures since Walt Disney (NYSE:DIS) bought it for $500M last year.
    • McPherson had joined Maker Studios prior to the Disney deal, after serving as VP and head of video for Yahoo. Welt had left and rejoined Maker previously, having left for Sean Combs' Revolt TV.
    • Executive VPs Bonnie Pan and Gabriel Lewis will take over McPherson's programming duties, the company said in an update, and Marketing VP Glenn Frese will take over Welt's duties in the interim.
    • Disney shares are down 0.5% after hours, after dropping 3.5% during market hours today.
    | Mon, Aug. 24, 6:02 PM | 2 Comments
  • Thu, Aug. 20, 9:49 AM
    • Walt Disney (DIS -3.1%) and Time Warner (TWX -2.3%) are both off following downgrades from Sanford Bernstein, to Market Perform, on the usual worries about affiliate fees.
    • The market is valuing ad-supported TV businesses as "structurally impaired assets," Bernstein's Todd Juenger writes, which is "fair and warranted, because: a) we believe TV advertising is undeniably in secular decline; and b) affiliate fees are now also being put at increased risk."
    • One media name that deserves conviction, by contrast, is Twenty-First Century Fox (FOX -1.1%, FOXA -1%), he says: "There is simply too much growth in FY17-18 to keep the stock below ~$40," but even so he's cautious in nearer-term quarters.
    • Investors will go long and short on media dependent on their feelings about cord-cutting and affiliate fees, he says, but enough complexities still exist in the sector to create opportunities.
    | Thu, Aug. 20, 9:49 AM | 81 Comments
  • Tue, Aug. 18, 11:21 AM
    • Some "old-line" media stocks are trading lower off a sector-wide downgrade from Wells Fargo, which has put a rating of Market Weight on diversified media.
    • A number of Outperform ratings were cut to Market Perform: For CBS, now down 1.7%; for Walt Disney (NYSE:DIS), -1.5%; and Twenty-First Century Fox (FOX -0.6%; FOXA -1.2%).
    • In Disney's case, the analysts pointed to lighter guidance internationally for Star Wars and developments at its Shanghai park as catalysts to watch.
    • Ratings challenges justify headwinds at CBS and Fox, Wells Fargo noted.
    • Wells also downgraded Gannett broadcast spinoff TEGNA (TGNA -1.5%) to Market Perform.
    | Tue, Aug. 18, 11:21 AM | 28 Comments
  • Mon, Aug. 10, 2:26 PM
    • Fox's expensive reboot of Fantastic Four might face a write-off after stumbling from the box-office gate this weekend amid bad word-of-mouth and critical reviews.
    • Fox (FOX -1.4%, FOXA -0.1%) inherited the Marvel property and had hopes for a hero franchise that could rival X-Men, though the film will need a huge overseas reception to realize those dreams.
    • The $26.2M it earned was below expectations of $40M, ensuring it finished second behind Paramount's Mission: Impossible -- Rogue Nation (VIA +2.2%, VIAB +2.5%), topping the box office with $29.4M ($108.7M in its two weeks).
    • Among longer-term August players, Ant-Man (DIS +1%) earned $7.8M to bring its domestic total to $147.4M in four weeks, and Minions (CMCSA +1.3%) drew $7.4M to total $302.8M in five weeks.
    | Mon, Aug. 10, 2:26 PM | 33 Comments
  • Thu, Aug. 6, 1:01 PM
    • Disney (NYSE:DIS) is down another 5.2% today (down 13.7% in two days) amid a deepening media stock sell-off that it seems to have spurred with its Tuesday earnings report, where it took a fair chunk of time on an analyst call acknowledging subscriber losses at ESPN.
    • Also off broadly at midday: CBS -3.1%; CMCSA -4%; FOXA -9.8%; VIAB -15.6%; TWX -5%; AMCX -9.6%; LGF -6.7%.
    • The sell-off is affecting several companies with a cable or pay-TV component, as sub losses at ESPN -- the most valuable part of any cable bundle -- point to the effect of cord-cutting.
    • Analysts are agreeing that the trend of unbundling (or skinny bundling) might threaten the long-term health of the pay TV ecosystem, which has profited from the promise of rising subscription fees from providers. That's dependent on subscriber counts that don't significantly drop off.
    • A growing pile of reports this week is indicating warning signs for subscriber counts. Dish Network (DISH -2.2%) had "almost certainly the worst quarter" for satellite subscriber losses, analyst Craig Moffett noted, as it merged Sling TV subscriber growth into its overall count, masking the core number. Moffett estimates Dish lost 151K satellite TV customers in Q2.
    • Subscriber losses mean lower affiliate fees. Disney said in its call "we now expect domestic cable affiliate revenue [growth] to fall short of previous expectation, but still in high single digits."
    • Other industry decliners: CRWN -8.9%; QVCA -5.4%; STRZA -6.1%
    • Previously: Disney tumbles 8.9% after revenue miss; Iger talks ESPN again (Aug. 05 2015)
    • Previously: Disney's Iger bullish on ESPN despite consumer changes, unbundling (Aug. 04 2015)
    | Thu, Aug. 6, 1:01 PM | 28 Comments
  • Wed, Aug. 5, 9:45 AM
    • Walt Disney (NYSE:DIS) sellers have piled onto yesterday's postmarket decline, as the stock comes out of the open down 8.7% after a revenue miss as international theme park growth slowed and interactive sales declined.
    • After a recent push to all-time highs, Disney stock is at its lowest point in seven weeks.
    • On CNBC this morning, Bob Iger talked about his full-throated defense of ESPN on yesterday's earnings call.
    • "Our business has performed extremely well, and we have a very, very strong outlook going forward, but we felt that given the importance of ESPN to the company and cable networks in general, that it was important for us to be candid about what we see in the environment. Simple as that," Iger said.
    • He repeated that Disney was bullish on the cable business and ESPN specifically. "We did want to note the sub losses that we had seen. We also have an NBA deal that kicks in in 2017. But after 2017 we believe ESPN is going to deliver very compelling growth for this company."
    • "I think it's a huge buying opportunity," said Tigress Financial Partners' Ivan Feinseth. "I'm actually shocked it's down, but I've often said you never buy a stock for what just happened, you buy a stock for what's going to happen over the next few years."
    • Previously: Disney's Iger bullish on ESPN despite consumer changes, unbundling (Aug. 04 2015)
    • Previously: Disney -2.3% as Q3 revenues fall short; profits up 11% (Aug. 04 2015)
    | Wed, Aug. 5, 9:45 AM | 74 Comments
  • Wed, Aug. 5, 9:19 AM
    | Wed, Aug. 5, 9:19 AM | 11 Comments
  • Tue, Aug. 4, 6:50 PM
    • CEO Bob Iger took a large chunk of time at the beginning of the Walt Disney (NYSE:DIS) earnings call to vigorously defend ESPN -- a nod to recent rampant discussion about the sports empire's fortunes in the new multichannel environment.
    • "We're realists about the business and about the impact technology has had," Iger said. "We're also quite mindful about trends in younger audiences in particular."
    • "ESPN has experienced some modest sub losses -- though those are less than reported by a prominent research firm," Iger said. "And the vast majority of them, 80%, are due to decreases in multi-channel households ... only a small percentage due to skinny bundles." Nielsen has said that ESPN has lost 3.2M subscribers in just over a year.
    • In the company's fiscal Q3 results, it noted that operating results at ESPN were driven by affiliate revenue growth even as ad revenue declined. Subscriber numbers were goosed by the August 2014 launch of the SEC Network. Lower ad revenues "reflected lower ratings and rates."
    • Last week Iger suggested that ESPN could go direct to consumers (over-the-top) eventually, but today talked up the standard program bundle and said unbundling is still "a positive trend for us ... ESPN is a must-have brand," not only No. 1 in sports media but the leader in live programming. "Ninety-six percent of all sports programming is watched live," he said, particularly valuable in today's ad marketplace.
    • Another concern tackled in the call was currency-exchange headwinds. New CFO Christine McCarthy said Disney was updating its old long-term guidance through 2016, seeing $500M in forex effects for revenue. And "due to lower sub levels, we now expect domestic cable affiliate revenue [growth] to fall short of previous expectation, but still in high single digits."
    • DIS is now down 6.3% after hours.
    • Previously: Disney -2.3% as Q3 revenues fall short; profits up 11% (Aug. 04 2015)
    | Tue, Aug. 4, 6:50 PM | 10 Comments
  • Tue, Aug. 4, 4:40 PM
    • Walt Disney (NYSE:DIS) is off 2.3% in late trading following its fiscal Q3 report, where revenues fell short of analyst expectations even as profits grew 11% from the prior year and beat for the 11th straight quarter.
    • Revenues by segment: Media Networks, $5.77B (up 5%); Parks & Resorts, $4.13B (up 4%); Studio Entertainment, $2.04B (up 13%); Consumer Products, $954M (up 6%); Interactive, $208M (down 22%).
    • Interactive was the disappointment in revenues, held down by Disney Infinity sales. In Media Networks, profits were up 7% in the Cable Networks group, while slumping 15% in Broadcasting, thanks to higher costs for programming and labor and lower ad revenue.
    • Parks & Resorts income was up 9%, to $922M, on domestic strength (volume, and growth in per-guest spending). Attendance was down in Hong Kong, and costs were higher there and in Paris.
    • Studio Entertainment benefit from good comps of Avengers: Age of Ultron compared to last year's Captain America: The Winter Soldier. Tomorrowland was a drag -- but no write-down mentioned.
    • For the nine months: Free cash flow was $4.5B, up $93M Y/Y. Capex increased to $3.1B, from $2.2B, mainly due to higher construction spending for Shanghai Disney.
    • Conference call to come at 5 p.m. ET.
    • Press Release
    | Tue, Aug. 4, 4:40 PM | 32 Comments
  • Mon, Jul. 27, 1:24 PM
    • Adam Sandler's Pixels opened to a slack $24M at the domestic box office, allowing Marvel's Ant-Man (DIS -0.5%) to crawl away with the crown for another week.
    • Ant-Man drew $24.8M to bring its two-week haul to $106M. Critically slammed Pixels, for its part, barely outdrew Minions (CMCSA -1.4%), which pulled $22.1M in its third week to finish No. 3.
    • Pixels' merely-OK showing is a setback for Sony Pictures (SNE -2.1%), sitting around eighth place among major distributors this year and looking for its first $100M film since The Equalizer.
    • Trainwreck (NASDAQ:CMCSA) made $17.3M to bring its two-week total to $61.5M. Among the weekend's other key debuts, boxing film Southpaw (Weinstein Group) beat Paper Towns (FOX -1%, FOXA -0.9%), $16.5M to $12.5M, despite playing in fewer theaters. The two films were No. 5 and No. 6 in domestic receipts respectively.
    • Previously: Sony hoping for breakout with videogame film 'Pixels' (Jul. 24 2015)
    | Mon, Jul. 27, 1:24 PM | 3 Comments
  • Thu, Jul. 23, 11:18 PM
    • As six Hollywood studios fell into the crosshairs of Europe's regulators -- who filed formal antitrust charges today related to pay TV access -- Disney (NYSE:DIS), for one, promised a vigorous fight.
    • Responses were more straightforward, or absent, among the other targets: NBCUniversal (NASDAQ:CMCSA), Paramount Pictures (VIA, VIAB), Sony Pictures Entertainment (NYSE:SNE), 20th Century Fox (FOX, FOXA) and Warner Bros. (NYSE:TWX).
    • Along with Sky UK (OTCQX:SKYAY), the six are charged with creating improper licensing deals that prohibited viewers outside the UK and Ireland from accessing paid Sky programming, blocking much of Europe from watching U.S. films and TV.
    • "The impact of the commission’s analysis is destructive of consumer value and we will oppose the proposed action vigorously," said a Disney spokesperson.
    • The charges are the result of 18 months' investigation by the European Commission. They may not stop at Sky, as investigations are ongoing into pay TV providers in Germany, France, Spain and Italy. Geographic limitations on digital viewing is seen to be holding back the unity of a fragmented European market.
    • The bottom line: The EU could fine companies up to 10% of global annual revenue.
    • Today: DIS -0.5%; CMCSA -3.2%; VIA -0.7%; VIAB -0.3%; SNE +2.9%; FOX -1.4%; FOXA -1.4%; TWX -1.2%; OTCQX:SKYAY -1.7%.
    | Thu, Jul. 23, 11:18 PM | 14 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.