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The Walt Disney Company (DIS)

- NYSE
  • Yesterday, 4:55 PM
    • Disney (NYSE:DIS) finished up 0.6% today following an upgrade from Guggenheim to Buy, from Neutral -- reversing course from a fall downgrade.
    • Guggenheim says it's cautious on media networks, but Disney has "significantly outperformed media peers" and has key assets that should cascade into multiple revenue streams -- namely, Marvel's upcoming Avengers: Age of Ultron, and an upcoming set of Star Wars films, which "should fuel incremental future media, parks and product opportunities."
    • The analysts set a $127 price target on the stock, up previously from $109.53. Shares closed today at $110.16.
    | 3 Comments
  • Yesterday, 1:13 PM
    • Romantic fantasy The Age of Adaline (NYSE:LGF), starring Blake Lively, earned $5M at the box office on Friday, just ahead of Furious 7's $4.9M -- then the rest of the weekend happened, and Furious 7 (NASDAQ:CMCSA) became the first film to lead domestic box office for four straight weeks since 2012's The Hunger Games.
    • The racing film took in $18.3M to run its domestic total to $320.5M.
    • Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2 (NYSE:SNE) took second place with $15.5M in its second week, and The Age of Adaline drew $13.4M in total, just ahead of Home's (NASDAQ:DWA) $8.3M.
    • Furious 7's $1.3B global take makes it the fifth-highest grosser in history. Next up: Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2 at $1.34B.
    • Meanwhile, the film that will topple Furious 7 next weekend has already made a small mint overseas. Avengers: Age of Ultron drew $201M in overseas grosses (in only 55% of the global market) ahead of its May 1 U.S. release, presaging a massive haul for the Marvel (NYSE:DIS) sequel.
    • Its predecessor, Marvel's The Avengers, earned a record $207.4M domestically in its debut weekend in 2012.
    | 3 Comments
  • Yesterday, 12:47 PM
    • ESPN (NYSE:DIS) has filed a lawsuit against Verizon (NYSE:VZ) alleging the programmer's "skinny bundle" FiOS Custom TV is a breach of contract, bringing the simmering disagreement to a legal head.
    • "We are well within our rights under our agreements to offer our customers these choices," a Verizon spokeswoman told Variety in response.
    • Verizon is offering smaller program bundles in its base package, while ESPN argues its contract prohibits including its networks on a separately priced tier.
    • The suit was filed in the New York Supreme Court.
    • Twenty-First Century Fox (FOX, FOXA) had joined Disney in refusing to air ads for Verizon's new service in some markets.
    • Previously: Bundle fight: Verizon says Disney refusing ads for new service (Apr. 23 2015)
    • Previously: More challenge Verizon's new TV bundles (Apr. 22 2015)
    | 26 Comments
  • Fri, Apr. 24, 7:30 PM
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  • Thu, Apr. 23, 5:21 PM
    • Verizon (NYSE:VZ) says that Walt Disney (NYSE:DIS) -- one of a group of program providers that claim Verizon's new slim cable packages violate their contracts -- is refusing to carry Verizon's ads for the new packages.
    • NBCUniversal (NASDAQ:CMCSA) and Twenty-First Century Fox (FOX, FOXA) joined Disney this week in saying that Verizon's plan to let subscribers choose smaller, cheaper bundles violated their carriage agreements. Verizon CFO Fran Shammo said firmly that the company wouldn't retract the product.
    • Fox and NBC haven't pulled the ads so far. Disney owns the ABC Network as well as the ESPN networks.
    • The new Verizon plans, designed to offer more variety than large one-size-fits-all bundles, start at $55/month for a smaller channel lineup. They're available on Verizon's FiOS service, which has 5.7M TV subscribers.
    • Previously: Disney: Not so fast on skinny bundling, Verizon (Apr. 17 2015)
    | 5 Comments
  • Wed, Apr. 22, 3:24 AM
    | 1 Comment
  • Fri, Apr. 17, 9:13 PM
    • A spokesperson for ESPN (NYSE:DIS) has weighed in on reports that Verizon (NYSE:VZ) will offer unbundled or "skinny" packages to give customers choice about what they receive -- and ESPN says that's not allowed.
    • “Media reports about Verizon’s new contemplated bundles describe packages that would not be authorized by our existing agreements," says the company's statement. "Among other issues, our contracts clearly provide that neither ESPN nor ESPN2 may be distributed in a separate sports package.”
    • The move's unsurprising coming from ESPN, which charges the highest prices per subscriber by far among national cable peers, reportedly now more than $6/month. That compares with TNT at around $1.48/subscriber month.
    • ESPN has made defending bundles a policy priority in Washington, and companies with powerful bundles of channels like Disney (with the various flavors of ESPN as well as the Disney Channel and Soapnet) can force channels with low or no consumer interest into bundles with the desired flagship stations to build their audience.
    • The statement suggests Verizon didn't get a sign-off from Disney before talking about unbundling, though Peter Kafka reports that Verizon's Alberto Canal said the company had gotten authorization from all programmers in its new bundle.
    | 36 Comments
  • Fri, Apr. 17, 4:22 PM
    • Just in time for critical upfronts, advertising spending on TV rose in the first quarter, Standard Media Index reports, offering some optimism for networks in a challenging season.
    • Excluding last year's Winter Olympics impact, spending was up 7% for broadcast networks, and up 4% for cable networks.
    • For broadcast, January and February showed nominal declines because of comparison with the year-ago Olympics, and revenues were flat in March. Meanwhile, TV ratings were down 11% in Q1.
    • The news is good but tempered by the expectation that this year's upfronts (all-at-once negotiations over the upcoming TV season) will show ad commitments falling 10% for broadcast and 5% for cable.
    • Key network owners: AMCX, DIS, CBS, FOX, CMCSA
    | Comment!
  • Thu, Apr. 16, 3:23 PM
    • Walt Disney (NYSE:DIS) is building some momentum this afternoon, up 1.2%, as fans start to refuel high expectations with the first day of the "Star Wars Celebration" in Anaheim, Calif.
    • The first day of a four-day meetup featured new looks at images and media from the upcoming winter's Star Wars: The Force Awakens sequel, including a new trailer.
    • Earlier the stock got some pre-earnings positives from JPMorgan via Alexia Quadrani, and from JBL Advisors, which initiated coverage at Buy with a $124 price target. Disney closed yesterday at $106.96.
    • Disney's "best positioned ... to reported yet another quarterly beat vs. consensus expectations from ongoing strength at the Parks and Consumer Products in particular," says JPMorgan. The report (JPMorgan's expecting EPS of $1.15) could be a positive catalyst and the firm is expecting color on the money train that is Avengers: Age of Ultron, which will have opened May 1.
    • JBL thinks Disney's well positioned for "double digit earnings gains in F2015E-F2017E ... which we believe should lead to above-average returns for investors this next year."
    • Disney reports earnings May 5.
    | 14 Comments
  • Thu, Apr. 16, 1:31 PM
    • Verizon (NYSE:VZ) is turning to college sports for its mobile-first streaming video service, inking deals with a number of partners to fill out an offering that should have 20-30 channels later this year.
    • The company has deals with ACC Digital Network, Campus Insiders, CBS Sports, ESPN and 120 Sports to join its deal for 200 hours with Awesomeness TV (NASDAQ:DWA).
    • What does Verizon get? "Dozens of live major college games" from CBS and "select live college football and college games" as well as original-entertainment shows like 30 for 30 from ESPN (NYSE:DIS).
    • Pricing and packaging for the service are still unresolved, but Verizon does plan to offer it only via its mobile data plans at first.
    | Comment!
  • Wed, Apr. 15, 10:07 AM
    • Disney (NYSE:DIS) will use its upcoming releases Tomorrowland and Inside Out to premiere Dolby Vision, Dolby's (NYSE:DLB) latest video standard offering a greater range of colors.
    • Dolby's offering promises a wider color gamut regardless of how many pixels of resolution a display screen has. The film will show at Dolby Cinema locations featuring the new video technology and Dolby Atmos sound.
    • Disney has hopes that Tomorrowland -- directed by Brad Bird, veteran of the company's The Incredibles and Ratatouille -- can provide a new franchise to go along with its roster of film franchises including Marvel and Star Wars.
    • A previous film in the Disney stable, Pixar's Brave, served as the 2012 debut of Dolby's Atmos sound system.
    | 2 Comments
  • Wed, Apr. 15, 9:56 AM
    • Disney (NYSE:DIS) will use its upcoming releases Tomorrowland and Inside Out to premiere Dolby Vision, Dolby's (NYSE:DLB) latest video standard offering a greater range of colors.
    • Dolby's offering promises a wider color gamut regardless of how many pixels of resolution a display screen has. The film will show at Dolby Cinema locations featuring the new video technology and Dolby Atmos sound.
    • Disney has hopes that Tomorrowland -- directed by Brad Bird, veteran of the company's The Incredibles and Ratatouille -- can provide a new franchise to go along with its roster of film franchises including Marvel and Star Wars.
    • A previous film in the Disney stable, Pixar's Brave, served as the 2012 debut of Dolby's Atmos sound system.
    | Comment!
  • Tue, Apr. 14, 4:57 PM
    • In a major refocus, cable network ABC Family (NYSE:DIS) is pressing to double original programming and target women ages 14-29.
    • The network is already No. 1 in prime time among ad-supported networks with women 18-34, 18-49 and 12-34, so the new slate is a big investment in its position.
    • The new target is what ABC Family calls "becomers," girls and women within a decade of graduating school, who consume about four hours of TV each day plus three on mobile devices -- that's 69M people, 70% of whom are millennials.
    • The network is adding more than a dozen scripted shows to its development schedule along with renewing hits Pretty Little Liars, Switched at Birth and The Fosters, and it will launch a revamped app to increase its social media focus with its new target audience.
    | Comment!
  • Mon, Apr. 13, 4:28 PM
    • Furious 7 topped domestic box office for the second straight weekend and kept on a straight course toward becoming the first in its seven-film series to gross $1B worldwide.
    • The record-seeing Universal (NASDAQ:CMCSA) film took $60.6M to bring its two-week U.S. total to $252.5M. It's one of only a dozen movies to reach $60M in its second weekend.
    • The film cruised past $800M globally, playing in 66 territories, and pushed the Fast & Furious series over $3B in grand total grosses.
    • Home (NASDAQ:DWA) continued to hold up in its third week, finishing second with $19M ($129.6M overall), just ahead of romantic new entrant The Longest Ride, with $13M.
    • Cinderella (NYSE:DIS) and Insurgent (NYSE:LGF) slipped to Nos. 5 and 6 respectively. Cinderella took $7.1M to bring its five-week haul to $180.7M ($436.8M worldwide), and Insurgent drew 6.7% to bring a four-week total to $114.7M ($250M worldwide).
    | Comment!
  • Fri, Apr. 10, 8:59 PM
    • Paramount Pictures' Interstellar (VIA, VIAB) debuted strong on top of the home-entertainment charts, surpassing some solid competition.
    • The film topped The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies (NYSE:TWX) on Nielsen's VideoScan sales chart (DVD and Blu-ray).
    • The top five was rounded out by Big Hero 6 and Into the Woods (NYSE:DIS), and Penguins of Madagascar (DWA, FOXA).
    • The Hobbit sold 57% of Interstellar's units but only 39% of the Blu-rays of the visual-and-sound-heavy space adventure. Blu-rays accounted for 70% of total Interstellar sales.
    • The rampaging success of Furious 7 (NASDAQ:CMCSA) pushed the two previous series films, Fast Five and Fast & Furious 6, back into the top 20.
    | 7 Comments
  • Fri, Apr. 10, 7:47 PM
    • Executive pay reports keep rolling out, and while 2014 was anything but stellar for media companies, most Hollywood CEOs made more (a lot more in some cases) -- with Sumner Redstone a notable exception.
    • Viacom (VIA, VIAB) founder Redstone -- who skipped Viacom's earnings call and is reportedly ailing -- earned $13.2M in total comp, down from $36.2M the prior year. CEO Philippe Dauman took in $44.3M in 2014. For CBS, Redstone's comp fell 81% to $10.8M.
    • The eye-opening number among eye-openers came for Discovery Communications (NASDAQ:DISCA) chief David Zaslav, who drew a staggering $156M in total comp (up 368%) -- mostly from $94M in new stocks and options. His base was $3M. Tying his salary to the company's results is very much intentional.
    • Lions Gate's (NYSE:LGF) Jon Feltheimer led gainers with a 400% increase to $63.6M, paced again by stock options.
    • Other notables: Rupert Murdoch (NWS, FOX) drew $37.9M in total comp, up 31%, while Fox president Chase Carey got $28M (up 4%); Bob Iger (NYSE:DIS) pulled $46.5M, up 35.6%; Comcast (NASDAQ:CMCSA) CEO Brian Roberts drew $33M (up 5.1%) and NBCUniversal President Steve Burke got $33.9M (up 9%).
    | 13 Comments
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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.