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The Walt Disney Company (DIS)

  • Fri, Jan. 2, 12:35 PM
    • ESPN's (NYSE:DIS) big spend on securing rights to the first College Football playoff games appears to have paid off a bit with last night's Sugar Bowl generating a 15.3 household rating to follow the 15.5 rating scored by the Rose Bowl earlier in the day.
    • The early game marked a 38% ratings jump from the bowl game broadcast by ESPN a year ago, while the rating for the later game was 125% higher than a year ago.
    • ESPN will air the College Football Playoff championship game on January 12.
    • By the numbers: The network spent $7.3B to secure the college football playoff rights for 12 years.
    • Related: Nike (NYSE:NKE) is also riding high with the company having close ties to finalists Oregon and Ohio State.
  • Fri, Jan. 2, 11:54 AM
    • 2014 saw a mixed performance for movie studios (LGF, CMCSA, TWX, DIS, SNI, VIA, VIAB, FOXA, DIS).
    • U.S. box office -5.2% Y/Y to $10.3B. Higher ticket prices and improved in-theater spending helped offset low traffic.
    • China box office +36% Y/Y to $4.77B Though the number of foreign films are capped by the government, the box office winner in the nation in 2014 was Paramount's Transformers: Age of Extinction. Local productions accounted for 54% of the tally. IMAX (NYSE:IMAX) had a big year.
    • U.K. box office -5% to $1.73b. The Lego Movie from Warner Bros. topped the chart.
    • France box office +8% to $4.77B.
    • Japan +5.9% led by a stellar $249M from Disney's Frozen.
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  • Dec. 31, 2014, 8:42 AM
    • Streaming: Sony (NYSE:SNE), HBO (NYSE:TWX), CBS (NYSE:CBS), and Dish Networks (NASDAQ:DISH) are set to unveil streaming products in 2015. The theory of the companies that the skinny bundles will draw in more cord-cutters and cord-nevers than they will cannibalize current pay-TV subscribers will be put to the test. The rush of streaming options could help or hurt Netflix (NASDAQ:NFLX) depending upon which analysis an investor leans on.
    • Theater traffic rebound: Exhibitors (CNK, RGC, AMC, CKEC, IMAX) and movie studios (LGF, VIA, VIAB, DIS, FOXA, CMCSA, TWX) maintain that the decline in theater attendance in 2014 (-6%) was due to a slate of films light on blockbusters. A bounce is forecast for 2015 with high-profile films such as Avengers: The Age of Ultron, The Hunger Games: Mockingjay Part 2, Fifty Shades of Grey, Jurassic World, Spectre (James Bond), and Mission Impossible 5 all set to premiere - along with the reboot of the Star Wars franchise in December. Capex spending on theater upgrades could also help boost in-theater spending and average ticket price for exhibitors.
    • Mergers: If regulators allow the Comcast-Time Warner Cable (NYSE:TWC) and AT&T-DirecTV (NASDAQ:DTV) mergers to sail through it could clear a path for other media combinations, note analysts. Potential buyers include Alibaba (NYSE:BABA), Wanda Group, Softbank (OTCPK:SFTBY), and a TWX-rebuffed 21st Century Fox (NASDAQ:FOXA). Content producers which could be targets include Starz (NASDAQ:STRZA), Lions Gate (NYSE:LGF), DreamWorks Animation (NASDAQ:DWA), AMC Networks (NASDAQ:AMCX), and Scripps Networks (NYSE:SNI). A split-up Madison Square Garden (NASDAQ:MSG) could also be enticing.
  • Dec. 30, 2014, 10:34 AM
    • U.S movie admissions are down 6% to 1.259B this year to mark the lowest level of movie attendance since 1995.
    • An increase in average ticket prices on the push to premium seating helped offset the decline in traffic.
    • Disney's (NYSE:DIS) studio took in $1.558B (-7% Y/Y) on 17 movies tracked to rank second of the studios.
    • Guardians of the Galaxy, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, and Maleficent all broke the $200M mark in 2014 for Disney.
    • Despite the dip in box office revenue, Disney movies were a big factor in the company's consumer products and gaming businesses.
  • Dec. 24, 2014, 8:10 AM
    • Media analysts expect an announcement shortly from Sony Pictures (NYSE:SNE) on how it plans to distribute The Interview online.
    • The options for the movie studio are plentiful - including using a powerhouse tech outlet such as Google (via Google Play or YouTube), Apple, or Netflix.
    • Sony-owned Crackle is also an option as is a deal with a pay-TV operator.
    • What to watch: A successful online launch of the film could have some wider implications for movie studios (LGF, VIAB, VIA, TWX, DIS, FOXA) and theater chains (RGC, CKEC, AMC, CNK) with the industry's mainstream distribution model showing some signs of cracking.
  • Dec. 23, 2014, 4:16 PM
    • DirecTV (NASDAQ:DTV) and Disney (NYSE:DIS) sign a widely-anticipated multi-platform deal.
    • The deal will give DirecTV subscribers wide access to Disney, ESPN, and ABC shows on linear TV and through the company's Watch service.
    • Disney content will also be available for VOD purchase.
    • Previously: Pay-TV contract talks intensify (Dec. 22)
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  • Dec. 22, 2014, 1:39 PM
    • DirecTV (DTV +0.7%) and Disney (DIS +1.3%) remain in negotiations over a long-term contract, almost three months after the expiration of a 10- year deal.
    • The role of TV Everywhere is major focus of talks between the two media companies.
    • Though no blackout of Disney channels on DirecTV is expected in the dispute, it's a different story with Dish Networks which pulled the plug on Fox News and Fox Business Network amid a contract scuffle.
  • Dec. 11, 2014, 2:28 PM
    • Nielsen reports that so-called digitals, what the company calls consumers aged between 12 and 24, saw 7.1 movies in theaters this year - compared to the 8.4 movies the group saw the previous year.
    • Moviegoers between the ages of 25 and 44 increased the number of theater trips this year to 8.1 from 7.7 in 2013.
    • No great surprise, but digitals increased the amount of content they streamed this year, including more full-length movies.
    • Perhaps of interest to studios (LGF, SNE, CMCSA, TWX, FOXA, DIS), a majority of digitals say they trust trailers and the opinions of friends over movie commercials aired on TV.
    • Full Nielsen report
    • Theater stocks: CKEC, AMC, CNK, RLD, IMAX, RDI, MCS.
  • Dec. 11, 2014, 7:21 AM
    • Cowen Research forecasts national TV advertising has been flat for the last two quarters on a slowing growth trend.
    • National TV advertising as a percentage of overall advertising has been falling.
    • Related stocks: CBS, TWX, DIS, FOXA, CMCSA, AMCX, VIAB.
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  • Dec. 10, 2014, 3:58 PM
    • Disney (NYSE:DIS) CEO Bob Iger says the integration of Star Wars into the company's theme parks will be based on new sequels and spin-offs from the franchise, instead of the older generation of movies.
    • Iger notes the company purposefully resisted the temptation to push the Star Wars attractions out early in order to maintain a consistent branding.
    • Reaction to the trailer for Star Wars: The Force Awakens - due out December 18, 2015 - has been extremely favorable.
  • Dec. 10, 2014, 10:32 AM
    • Topeka Capital Markets downgrades Disney (DIS -0.9%) to Hold from Buy on a valuation call after the stock's dynamic run.
    • The investment firm raises concerns on the impact of a strong U.S. dollar on Disney's Orlando-area park attendance from global tourists over the next two years.
    • Topeka sets a $97 price target on shares.
  • Dec. 4, 2014, 11:53 AM
    • There might be a little sweat on the brow of NFL owners as a new bill introduced by Senator Richard Blumenthal takes dead aim at the permanent anti-trust exemption status enjoyed by the pro football league.
    • The powerful exemption has helped the value of NFL teams exceed most asset classes over the last two decades.
    • A hearing today of the Judiciary Committee includes debate on the topic and the league's handling of player scandals.
    • If the NFL were to lose the anti-trust exemption (still considered a long shot) - it would allow broadcasters to negotiate media deals piecemeal.
    • Escalating sports rights costs are a major consideration for CBS (NYSE:CBS), NBC (NASDAQ:CMCSA), ESPN (NYSE:DIS), Turner (NYSE:TWX), and Fox (NASDAQ:FOXA).
  • Dec. 3, 2014, 4:12 PM
    • The Walt Disney Company (NYSE:DIS) declares $1.15/share annual dividend, 33.7% increase from prior dividend of $0.86.
    • Forward yield 1.24%
    • Payable Jan 8; for shareholders of record Dec. 15; ex-div Dec. 11.
  • Dec. 3, 2014, 7:43 AM
    • Americans decreased the amount of daily time spent watching TV by 4.4% Y/Y to 4 hours and 32 minutes in Q3, according to a new report from Nielsen.
    • The amount of time viewing video on the Internet and time-shifted content both rose during the quarter.
    • "What used to be a schedule to watch programming now seems like little more than a suggestion," observes Nielsen.
    • This year's upfront ad meetings saw flat sales for broadcast networks and a 6% decline in ad sales for cable networks.
    • Related stocks: NFLX, FOXA, CBS, CMCSA, DIS, SNE, AMCX, TWX, VIAB, DISCA, SNI.
  • Dec. 2, 2014, 5:06 PM
    • Shipments of Frozen merchandise are up 470% Y/Y for the August to October time period.
    • Overall shipments of toys were up 3% for the same time period.
    • Last year, toy sellers were caught short from the onslaught of holiday shoppers looking for Frozen toys.
    • Anecdotal reports from Black Friday indicated empty shelves for Frozen dolls, while Barbies had plenty of company.
    • What to watch: Demand for princess dolls, books, and apparel tied to the Disney (NYSE:DIS) movie has been strong all year - leading to expectations that a sequel movie will be developed by Disney to keep the franchise thriving for years. A payoff for Frozen 2 isn't factored into most long-term Disney earnings forecasts.
  • Dec. 1, 2014, 3:05 PM
    • ESPN (NYSE:DIS) will spend $3.8B on rights for major sports this year, according to an estimate from MoffettNathanson.
    • The sports network is expected to spend $5.1B by 2017 based on deals already locked in place.
    • Though ESPN is expected to see a 33% gain in revenue per pay-TV user to $8 by 2018 per a SNL Kagan estimate, some media analysts think the total number of pay-TV subscribers will fall over the period to cut into growth.
    • What to watch: The amount ESPN can extract from new over-the-top services from DirecTV, Sony, and other streamers for carriage fees could help bridge the gap if it's proven that cord-cutters can't live without their live sports access.
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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.