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The Walt Disney Company (DIS)

  • Apr. 23, 2014, 12:12 PM
    • Captain America: The Winter Soldier has raked in over $100M in China over three weekends to quickly become the 7th highest grossing imported film ever in the region.
    • The film's smashing run follows closely on the runaway success of Frozen in China for Disney (DIS -0.5%).
    • The two films have a box office tally of over $1.7B between them.
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  • Apr. 22, 2014, 1:22 PM
    • Disney (DIS +0.6%) chairman Alan Horn confirmed during a chat at the Bloomberg and Tribeca Film Festival Business of Entertainment Breakfast that filming for Star Wars Episode VII has started
    • Some scenes have been shot in Abu Dhabu (Tatooine?) ahead of the principal photography which is scheduled to being in May in the U.K.
    • The budget for the film should fall in the $175M-$200M range, says Horn.
    • The company hasn't made any official announcement on casting, although it's been widely reported that Harrison Ford, Carrie Fischer, and Mark Hamill will reprise their roles.
    • Star Wars launch schedule: Episode VII premieres December 18, 2015; sequels are planned for 2017 and 2019; character spinoffs films are penciled in for 2016 and 2018.
  • Apr. 22, 2014, 7:35 AM
    • Aereo takes on the broadcasters (DIS, CMCSA, CBS, FOXA) today in the Supreme Court in a case that could rattle the TV sector.
    • Oral arguments are schedule to begin this morning.
    • A decision in the riveting case is expected by the end of June.
    • Previous: Supreme Court handicapping
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  • Apr. 15, 2014, 1:34 PM
    • Aereo gets its day in the Supreme Court next week as it takes on a powerful group of broadcasters (DIS, CMCSA, CBS, FOXA) and the U.S. Solicitor General's office.
    • Legal experts are deeply divided on which direction the court will rule in what could be a landmark case for the media industry. Justice Ginsburg is expected to side with the broadcasters and agree that Aereo violates copyright law, while Justice Breyer is tapped to side with Aereo. The other 7 justices are considered a bit of a tossup.
    • What to watch: A win by Aereo could lead to a pricing war in the pay-TV industry (CHTR, TWC, CVC, DISH, DTV) due to the low monthly fee ($8-$12/month) it charges to customers. A thriving Aereo could also prompt one of the major providers to unbundle its network packages to move to a la carte pricing. Content providers (DISCA, AMCX, VIAB, SNI, TWX, CRWN,MSG) will be watching the developments closely.
  • Apr. 14, 2014, 6:22 PM
    • A short, dry PR from Maker Studios makes it clear the company has no intention to abandon Disney's (DIS) offer for the company (worth up to $900M) in favor of a last-minute bid from Relativity Studios (reportedly worth up to $1.1B in cash and stock).
    • Though shareholders don't officially vote on Disney's offer until tomorrow, Maker says the deal has already been approved by "the majority of its shareholders." It's expected to close within the next few weeks.
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  • Apr. 14, 2014, 1:05 PM
    • Relativity Media has offered $1.1B for Maker Studios to top a $950M offer from Disney (DIS +0.8%), according to Bloomberg.
    • The offer for the YouTube video juggernaut is a mix of cash and Relativity stock.
    • Previous: Early bid by Relativity
  • Apr. 14, 2014, 9:53 AM
    • Frozen continues to run up astounding numbers in Asia as it plays strong to local audiences.
    • The film generated sales of over $77M in Korea and has passed the $90M level in Japan with a dubbed Japanese 3D version of the film yet to be released.
    • What to watch: The carry-over impact for Disney (DIS +0.5%) of the movie's popularity in Asia could help support strong demand for Frozen-related consumer products.
  • Apr. 14, 2014, 3:26 AM
    • Relativity Media has offered to buy Maker Studios for up to $900M in stock despite the YouTube content provider agreeing to sell itself to Disney (DIS), the WSJ reports.
    • Relativity,  a mid-sized film and entertainment company, is bidding $500M up front and $400M in milestones. Relativity is also proposing a $100M "bonus pool" to Maker's "key talent and executives."
    • Disney, though, is offering $500M in cash and $450M in additional payouts. A source said he believes that the companies have a binding agreement and so the Relativity offer would have no effect. Maker's shareholders are due to vote on the bid tomorrow.
  • Apr. 8, 2014, 8:41 AM
    • Captain America: The Winter Soldier brought in $39.2M during its opening three days in China to blow past all other films for the period.
    • The box office haul was boosted with 100% of the screening in China in 3D (RLD, IMAX).
    • The film has already earned over $300M globally for Disney (DIS) with its launch well-timed to capture younger audiences.
    • Previous: Captain America sequel timed to challenge Superman/Batman movie.
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  • Apr. 7, 2014, 1:44 PM
    • Disney (DIS -2%) has scheduled the sequel to Captain America for May 6, 2016 which is the same date that the highly-anticipated Superman-Batman movie from Warner Bros. (TWX) is set to debut.
    • The bold move from Disney comes after Captain America generated sales of $96.2M in a stellar opening weekend.
    • What to watch: The Avengers-related films have done well enough for Disney for execs to think they can make the unusual move of squaring off directly against another superhero movie. Perhaps of equal relevance, interest in China for the Avengers franchise has outpaced that of the Superman and Batman series.
  • Apr. 4, 2014, 2:46 PM
    • Nielsen ratings show Disney Junior (DIS) opening up a wider lead over Nick Jr. (VIA, VIAB) and Sprout (CMCSA).
    • For the first quarter of the year, Disney Junior had 459K total viewers - compared to 326K for Nick Jr. and 155K for Sprouts.
    • The kids network is also showing growing strength with digital channels and consumer product tie-ins.
  • Apr. 2, 2014, 10:28 AM
    • Aereo will be finished if it doesn't win its battle against broadcasters (DIS, CBS, CMCSA, FOXA), says backer Barry Diller.
    • The value proposition presented by being forced to pay retransmission fees would put Aereo out of the game, notes the IAC chairman.
    • Bloomberg interview with Diller (video)
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  • Apr. 1, 2014, 2:18 PM
    • Dish Network (DISH +3%) and Disney (DIS +1.6%) announce that content, including shows from Watch ABC, Watch Disney XD, and WatchESPN, is now available to Dish subscribers with Internet-connected devices.
    • Other on-demand content from Disney is being rolled out later this year to Dish subscribers.
    • Disney and Dish have broken new ground with their partnership which is seen as testing the bounds outside the traditional pay-TV model.
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  • Mar. 31, 2014, 11:51 AM
    • Frozen became the top animated movie of all-time and now ranks number ten on the list of all-time box office earners.
    • The film has brought in $398.4M domestically and $674M internationally for a total haul of $1.072B.
    • Sales in China have been exceptionally strong which is a nice tie-in with Disney (DIS +1%) looking to build up its franchises in advance of the opening of Shanghai Disney.
  • Mar. 26, 2014, 7:07 AM
    • Global box office sales rose 4% in 2013 to $35.9B.
    • China accounted for a good portion of the gain with sales rising 27% to $3.6B.
    • Box office growth in the U.S. was more tepid at 1%. Movie studios (DIS, LGF, SNE, VIAB, TWX, FOXA, VIA, CMCSA) increasingly relied on tentpole releases in the U.S. as the number of titles topping the $100M mark domestically went up to 35 from 31.
    • Related stocks: AMC, CKEC, CNK, RGC, MCS, RDI, AMC, IMAX, DCIN.
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  • Mar. 25, 2014, 8:09 AM
    • Disney's (DIS) acquisition of Maker Studios has enormous potential to pay off for the company with Maker needing the Disney touch to boost profitability, reasons Variety's Andrew Wallenstein.
    • Snapping up Maker also eliminates what could have been a formidable rival for Disney in the growing multichannel network part of the media business.
    • Analysts also see potential for Disney to build stars and brands on YouTube through Maker.  Looking further out, the deal could shorten the learning curve for Disney on how to set itself up for online video distribution.
    • DIS +1.9% premarket
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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.