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The Walt Disney Company (DIS)

  • Thu, Mar. 12, 11:39 AM
    • Disney (NYSE:DIS) is up +2.9% as it kicks off its annual meeting in San Francisco, flush with recent success in earnings and building momentum around its media properties.
    • The stock's on the move following CEO Bob Iger's appearance on Mad Money last night: "The most bullish I've seen him," says host Jim Cramer, pointing to developments in Star Wars and Marvel films, including a highly anticipated Avengers sequel opening May 1, not to mention a live-action Cinderella coming this weekend.
    • "Tentpole, tentpole, tentpole, tentpole -- they have so many brands, they remind me of Procter & Gamble 20 years ago," Cramer says.
    • Iger spoke about park technology investments, including a wristband that serves as an attraction ticket that also lets visitors make reservations for rides, and expressed optimism about next year's park opening in Shanghai.
    • Among his "5 things to watch," Mark Calvey notes shareholders looking for any sign of a split, and a tough vote on splitting the Chairman/CEO roles.
    • The new Cinderella film is expected to lead the box office and should get a boost from a seven-minute short featuring another Disney cash cow brand, Frozen.
  • Wed, Mar. 11, 10:29 PM
    • About two in five households now subscribe to some kind of video streaming, according to Nielsen, shedding some light on an area that the streaming companies haven't really been illuminating.
    • Aside from subscriber numbers that the companies report, the new research is focused on penetration. Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX) was top-ranked, with 36% of households subscribing in November.
    • Amazon Prime (NASDAQ:AMZN) was next (13% of households), followed by Hulu Plus (CMCSA, FOXA, DIS) with 6.5%.
    • Streaming-subscriber households are spending more screen time than nonsubscribers: 2 hours, 45 minutes a day, vs. 1:57.
    • Reactions are mixed as to what that means for cord-cutting: "People who like TV, love TV," says Pivotal Research's Brian Wieser, arguing that Netflix subscribers aren't necessarily abandoning pay TV.
    • While a third of households have just one service, only 10% have two and just 2.6% subscribe to three; those numbers correlate heavily with income.
    • Time-shifting, however, is way up, especially among younger audiences. Live watching is down among adults to 4 hours, 51 minutes a day, down 13 minutes from the prior year.
  • Tue, Mar. 10, 8:31 PM
    • Aereo pushes back after a disappointing bankruptcy auction, filing a suit against major broadcasters (DIS, CBS, FOXA, CMCSA) accusing them of chilling the bidding with baseless litigation.
    • While Aereo says it has no intention of reviving the business that broadcasters said was retransmitting their programming without royalties, the broadcasters have pursued a "bury 'em deep" legal strategy that fights Aereo's every move through bankruptcy.
    • Why it matters: Aereo's biggest debt is in damages owed to the broadcasters that could run into tens of millions of dollars, and Aereo would like that claim bumped below others: “The equities demand that the costs of the New York Broadcasters’ improper litigation tactics should not be borne by innocent creditors."
    • Aereo drew less than $2M in its February bankruptcy auction, well below expectations.
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  • Thu, Feb. 26, 7:14 PM
    • Aereo -- the streaming-TV service that cratered after it lost to broadcasters before the Supreme Court last summer -- hoped to get $4M-$31M at its bankruptcy auction, but were picked clean for less than $2M total by 10 bidders.
    • TiVo (NASDAQ:TIVO) picked up Aereo's customer list and trademark, and patent risk-management company RPX (NASDAQ:RPXC) got the patents. "We are very disappointed," said Aereo lawyer William Baldiga.
    • Meanwhile in the key litigation, a lower court is determining how much in damages Aereo owes angry broadcasters (DIS, CBS, FOXA, CMCSA), and it's likely to be in the tens of millions of dollars.
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  • Mon, Feb. 23, 8:00 PM
    • After some high expectations for an ad-revenue haul from last night's Oscar telecast, ABC (NYSE:DIS) took a hit as the show's ratings dropped 16%, to a six-year low.
    • Some 36.6M average viewers watched vs. last year's 43.7M, and the usual suspects are to blame for the decline: limited box-office appeal among the key nominees (American Sniper was an exception), and running about 40 minutes over its three-hour schedule, meaning the top awards came after midnight on the East Coast.
    • One mitigating factor is that rookie host Neil Patrick Harris had to try to build off last year's show, hosted by Ellen DeGeneres, which had the biggest audience since 2000.
    • Twitter usually reports tweet activity around the show, and didn't this year; could it be because Nielsen says engagement was down (13.02M unique users viewing Oscar tweets, vs. 13.92M last year, and 5.92M tweets this year vs. 11.16M last year)?
    • As for the high-profile (and high-cost) advertising, big-bucks spending by Apple, Google, AT&T and Sprint may have been trumped by Lego, using its Lego Movie nominated song Everything is Awesome in-show to build some free brand equity.
  • Mon, Feb. 23, 3:36 PM
    • Disney (NYSE:DIS) has named Bob Chapek its new chairman of Walt Disney Parks and Resorts, to replace Thomas Staggs. Chapek has been president of Disney Consumer Products and is a 20-year veteran of the company.
    • Chapek's new challenges include Shanghai Disney and a new Avatar-themed area at Walt Disney World.
    • He takes over a thriving business that built on revenue in Q4 and just raised ticket prices several percentage points across the board in the U.S., to take advantage of growing traffic.
  • Mon, Feb. 23, 11:35 AM
    • Disney (DIS +0.4%) passes a psychological barrier, raising ticket prices to the Magic Kingdom to $105/day, from $99. Among other increases in Florida and California, single-day tickets to Disneyland for ages 10 and up jumped to $99 from $96.
    • Tickets to the Magic Kingdom (Disney's flagship attraction) had just gone to $99 from $95 a year ago.
    • As long as attendance rises, the price hikes are likely to continue: Parks & Resorts revenue jumped 9% in Q1, driven by U.S. properties that saw more visitors and higher average spending (on merchandise and food/beverages as well as the increased ticket prices).
    • The increase in one-day prices might spur more families into bigger ticket packages, which would funnel still more revenue to more profitable streams (hotel and restaurant).
    • The move also fits into Orlando's growing reputation as an upscale destination: The average household income of overnight leisure visitors in 2013 was $95,720, up from $88,349 the prior year.
    • If Disney's raising prices, that means other Orlando increases are likely not far behind, for SeaWorld (NYSE:SEAS) and Universal Studios (NASDAQ:CMCSA).
  • Sun, Feb. 22, 5:52 PM
    • Tonight's Oscar telecast might seem to go on forever -- but the three-hour show may not last quite long enough for ABC (NYSE:DIS), who hopes to rake in $100M in ad revenue for the broadcast after a record 30-second spot average price of $1.95M, up 8%.
    • It's quite a trick in a slow ad season. While the Oscars can't compete in total viewership with the Super Bowl, Oscars ads command a higher premium on a per-viewer basis (22.6 viewers per ad dollar, vs. 25.4 for the Super Bowl), in part due to the Oscars' large female audience.
    • ABC's exclusive deal to cover the red carpet for the last hour before the awards begin helps funnel a ton of viewers to those expensive ads -- last year the pre-show brought 27.6M viewers in the last half hour, before 43.7M average for the awards show itself.
    • There are indirect benefits for brands from glomming on to the show, to judge from the Samsung selfie from last year's host Ellen DeGeneres.
    • Songwriters for the film Frozen have written a musical number for awards host Neil Patrick Harris -- a nice bit of cross promotion, since the animated hit has become a money machine for ABC parent Disney.
  • Fri, Feb. 13, 8:34 AM
    • Japanese toy giant Tomy makes a strong move into the U.S. toy business by securing the master license for toys tied to upcoming Pixar movies Inside Out and The Good Dinosaur.
    • The development could provide a disruption for Hasbro (NASDAQ:HAS) and Mattel (NASDAQ:MAT) if Tomy steps ups its U.S. presence, while creating a nice background for the consumer products segment at Disney (NYSE:DIS) as it bids out new toy licensing deals.
    • Tomy is traded in Tokyo under the symbol TYO.
  • Tue, Feb. 10, 8:58 PM
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  • Tue, Feb. 10, 12:24 PM
    • After a split-rights situation that resulted in two different Spider-Man movie franchises disconnected from the "Marvel Cinematic Universe," Sony (NYSE:SNE) and Marvel (NYSE:DIS) have agreed to collaborate on future films with the character.
    • Marvel Studios President Kevin Feige will co-produce the next installment along with outgoing Sony Picture co-chairman Amy Pascal.
    • The next Spider-film, originally planned for this fall, will move to summer 2017 -- but Spider-Man will appear in an earlier film along with other Marvel characters, in-line with Marvel's strategy of building blockbusters like The Avengers with multiple characters.
    • Sony will maintain final creative ownership of the Spider-Man pictures and will finance and distribute them.
    • Marvel has 11 films set for release over the next five years and will delay four of them based on the Sony agreement.
    • To judge from recent projects, there's big money at stake for everyone: Sony's The Amazing Spider-Man 2 generated nearly $1B in global box office (part of a $4B franchise), and Marvel's Iron Man 3 produced $1.2B.
    • Previously: Pascal out as Sony motion picture chief; shares up (Feb. 05 2015)
    • Related: Disney And Sony Spider-Man Partnership Sets Up Blockbuster 2017 (Feb. 10 2015)
    • Press release
  • Thu, Feb. 5, 12:57 PM
    • Disney (DIS +0.4%) names Walt Disney Parks and Resorts Chairman Tom Staggs its new COO, positioning him as the likely successor to CEO Robert Iger in the next few years.
    • Iger's contract expires in mid-2018 after a few contract extensions amid speculation he wasn't quite ready to retire.
    • Parks and Resorts revenue was up 9% to $3.91B in the company's Tuesday earnings report, on the back of domestic volume and guest spending growth.
    • Staggs keeps his post with Parks and Resorts. CFO Jay Rasulo, who for years was considered to be contesting Staggs for this No. 2 spot, is likely to leave Disney after this decision.
    • “He’s a very good dealmaker. He’s smart as hell and he is very personable — that’s a good combination,” said Michael Eisner about Staggs last week.
  • Tue, Feb. 3, 4:59 PM
    • More fiscal Q1 details from Disney (NYSE:DIS) business units: You're not just imagining Frozen merchandise is everywhere -- sales of the DVD boosted home-entertainment results (along with Guardians of the Galaxy and Maleficent), consumer products licensing, and retail operations (across all regions).
    • Media Networks' 3% gain in operating income was driven by Broadcasting, whose gain of $62M made up for a $22M decline at Cable (due to increased programming, production and G&A costs at ESPN; NFL programming and the SEC Network aren't cheap). Broadcast growth included higher sales of Criminal Minds, Scandal and Once Upon A Time.
    • Parks and Resorts growth was driven by domestic operations, which offset a decline internationally. Domestic gains came from "higher volumes and guest spending growth at our parks and resorts and, to a lesser extent, at our cruise business, partially offset by higher costs."
    • Shares now up 3.1% after hours.
    • Conference call starts at 5 p.m. ET.
    • Previously: Disney files smash-hit quarter with record revenues (Feb. 03 2015)
    • Previously: Walt Disney  beats by $0.20, beats on revenue (Feb. 03 2015)
  • Tue, Feb. 3, 4:24 PM
    • Disney (NYSE:DIS) posts a huge beat of $1.27 (up 27%) on a record $13.39B in revenues, higher even than the top range of expectations for its fiscal Q1.
    • Lots of strength in segment revenues: Media Networks up 11% to $5.86B; Parks and Resorts up 9% to $3.91B; Studio Entertainment down 2% to $1.86B; Consumer Products up 22% to $1.38B; Interactive down 5% to $384M.
    • While revenues were off in Studio Entertainment and Interactive, operating income rose in both, 33% and 36% respectively.
    • Free cash flow of $857M is up 55% from the prior year.
    • Shares up 3.2% after hours, following today's 2.4% gain in the regular session.
    • Press release
  • Tue, Feb. 3, 4:17 PM
    • Walt Disney  (NYSE:DIS): FQ1 EPS of $1.27 beats by $0.20.
    • Revenue of $13.39B (+8.8% Y/Y) beats by $520M.
    • Shares +1.88%.
    • Press Release
  • Mon, Feb. 2, 5:35 PM
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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.