Tue, May 5, 9:07 AM
- Walt Disney (NYSE:DIS) gained 2.5% premarket on a fiscal Q2 beat on top and bottom lines boosted by strength in its theme park and media units, as its filmed entertainment results took a bit of a breather before the release of a new Avengers film.
- Earnings totaled $2.1B and EPS was up 11% on a non-GAAP basis to $1.23. EBITDA of $3.9B beat an expected $3.73B.
- Revenue by segment: Media Networks, $5.8B (up 13%); Parks and Resorts, $3.76B (up 6%); Studio Entertainment, $1.69B (down 6%); Consumer Products, $971M (up 10%); Interactive, $235M (down 12%).
- In the Media Networks space, Cable Networks revenue was up 11% to $4.03B and Broadcasting revenues up a solid 19% to $1.78B. Operating income slipped 9% at ESPN due to higher programming/production costs, but ad revenues lifted operating income at Broadcasting 90%, to $302M.
- Parks and Resorts operating income was up 24% to $566M mainly due to increases in guest spending and volumes.
- Free cash flow of $2.01B was up 10% Y/Y.
- Conference call at 9:30 a.m. ET.
- Press release
Tue, May 5, 8:04 AM
Mon, May 4, 5:30 PM
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Mon, May 4, 4:57 PM
- Disney (NYSE:DIS) has moved its earnings release to Tuesday morning, from its previously scheduled Tuesday afternoon, to allow employees to attend the funeral of SurveyMonkey CEO David Goldberg, who died in an accident on vacation Friday.
- Goldberg was married to Facebook executive Sheryl Sandberg, who serves on Disney's board.
- The company will now post its Q2 results at 8 a.m. ET tomorrow and hold a conference call at 9:30 a.m.
Mon, May 4, 11:53 AM
- Time was when the summer movie season began Memorial Day weekend ... then Avengers: Age of Ultron (NYSE:DIS) set up for May 1, and pulled a whole lot of box-office money forward into the spring. The sequel drew $187.7M to mark the second-biggest domestic opening ever.
- The film fell short of what some observers though would be the all-time record: topping The Avengers' $207.7M opening in 2012. A tough major-sports Saturday might have hurt the take, as Age of Ultron had a stellar $84.5M Friday before tailing off to $57.2M Saturday.
- The new Avengers is a worldwide success with $627M in its 12 days out. Speaking of blockbuster season's earlier appearance, Furious 7 (CMCSA +0.6%) just took the month of April for its high-octane self but finally yielded to the Disney blockbuster as well as second-week release The Age of Adaline, (NYSE:LGF) which took the No. 2 spot with $6.3M.
- Furious 7 drew $6.1M to bring its domestic take to $330.5, and $1.4B on a worldwide basis (fourth-most ever). Paul Blart: Mall Cop 2 (NYSE:SNE) was No. 4 with $5.4M ($51M total), while Home (NASDAQ:DWA) pulled $3.3M to bring its total to $158.1M.
- Previously: Comcast +2.5% premarket as Q1 beats on top and bottom lines (May. 04 2015)
Fri, May 1, 10:01 PM
- One Star Wars (NYSE:DIS) spinoff film has lost its director, as Josh Trank (director of 2012's Chronicle) has left the project.
- Lucasfilm and Trank made the announcement Friday. The film wasn't set for release until 2019, following another Star Wars spinoff titled Rogue One, to be directed by Gareth Edwards.
- The move likely comes from conflict with screenwriter Simon Kinberg, with whom Trank clashed as they were making the Fantastic Four reboot that is scheduled for late summer. Trank was notably absent from the "Star Wars Celebration" event in Anaheim earlier this month, claiming illness.
- Star Wars: The Force Awakens is still on track for a December release.
Fri, May 1, 4:11 PM
- Avengers: Age of Ultron pulled a robust $27.6M in its Thursday night previews to presage what could be a record weekend for the Disney (DIS +1.7%) tentpole.
- Other than a few small dramas and indie films in limited openings, the weekend calendar is clear for superhero domination as the new Avengers heads to 4,276 screens in North America. The first film in the series, The Avengers, drew a record $207.4M in its first weekend, and it had logged $18.7M on its Thursday night.
- As for one-day totals, the new film's Thursday mark of $27.6M was short of Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 2's $43.5M, but ahead of Furious 7's $15.8M.
- Avengers: Age of Ultron opened in half its international markets last weekend. Combined with last night's total, the worldwide box office total comes to just under $315M, a number to rise by a considerable percentage come Monday. The film was tracking 44% ahead of its predecessor in global receipts.
- Previously: Disney upgraded to Buy at Guggenheim ahead of 'Avengers' (Apr. 27 2015)
Wed, Apr. 29, 10:25 AM
- At its upfront presentation for 2015, Hulu confirms it has acquired rights to the episode library of '90s hit Seinfeld, as well as signed an exclusive deal with AMC Networks (NASDAQ:AMCX) for The Walking Dead spinoff Fear the Walking Dead.
- Seinfeld will premiere in June on Hulu after the service outpaced competing bidders including Amazon.com and Yahoo (NASDAQ:YHOO), as well as Netflix, which bowed out early.
- That deal was widely watched as it's expected to cost as much as $180M -- Hulu's biggest ever. While Sony Pictures Television (NYSE:SNE) sold the distribution rights, much of that take will head to Time Warner (NYSE:TWX), which owns the show's producer, Castle Rock Entertainment, and will continue to hold rerun rights on TBS.
- The AMC deal also means content from IFC, Sundance TV, BBC America and We TV -- meaning IFC films will also be on Hulu.
- Hulu -- co-owned by NBCUniversal, Disney and Fox (CMCSA, DIS, FOXA) -- says it's consolidated its two brands and so will be phasing out "Hulu Plus."
- Previously: A Jerry big deal: 'Seinfeld' near streaming agreement (Mar. 14 2015)
Tue, Apr. 28, 1:28 PM
- In the latest of a string of millennial-friendly moves, Cablevision (NYSE:CVC) has agreed to become the first pay TV provider to distribute the Hulu service to its Optimum customers.
- "The partnership with Hulu reflects Cablevision's desire to meet customers where they are," says Cablevision COO Kristin Dolan.
- Pricing and time frame aren't yet announced. Hulu -- jointly owned by NBCUniversal, Disney and Fox (CMCSA, DIS, FOXA) -- offers its Hulu Plus product for $7.99/month and offers current programming from five broadcast networks as well as a back catalog of many series as well as classic films.
- Previously: Cablevision intros 'cord-cutter' broadband package (Apr. 23 2015)
- Previously: Cablevision becomes new launch partner for HBO Now (Mar. 16 2015)
Mon, Apr. 27, 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.
Mon, Apr. 27, 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.
Mon, Apr. 27, 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)
Fri, Apr. 24, 7:30 PM
- Comcast has ended its pursuit of Time Warner Cable, but what about that lawsuit from content companies that threatened to slow the whole thing down?
- Companies including CBS, Walt Disney (NYSE:DIS) and Viacom (VIA, VIAB) argued that the FCC's sharing hundreds of thousands of pages of negotiating strategies with third-party merger opponents like Dish Network (NASDAQ:DISH) would be "highly damaging." The fight was likely to add several weeks to any related merger consideration.
- The suit, still at the U.S. Court of Appeals, is still in progress because it also involved the ongoing AT&T (NYSE:T) deal to acquire DirecTV (NASDAQ:DTV). Attorneys close to the case are figuring that the Comcast-TWC documents will now be off the table as a moot point.
- Still, the decision likely still has an impact on the timeline for AT&T/DirecTV. The FCC will file an updated notification with the court.
- Previously: AT&T sells third-biggest debt offering to fund DirecTV purchase (Apr. 23 2015)
- Previously: Comcast, TWC move higher premarket on merger's end (Apr. 24 2015)
- Previously: It's over: Comcast officially ends $45B pursuit of TWC (Apr. 24 2015)
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)
Wed, Apr. 22, 3:24 AM
- More grumbling is being heard over Verizon's (NYSE:VZ) new skinny TV packages, which launched on Sunday starting at $55/month.
- NBCUniversal (NASDAQ:CMCSA) and Fox (NASDAQ:FOXA) now join ESPN (NYSE:DIS) in saying the company's new offering violates their contract agreements.
- "We have launched the product, we are not retracting it, and we believe we are in our legal rights to launch it," Verizon CFO Fran Shammo said in an interview.
- Previously: Disney: Not so fast on skinny bundling, Verizon (Apr. 17 2015)
- Previously: Verizon steps closer to custom TV packages (Apr. 17 2015)
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.
DIS vs. ETF Alternatives
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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