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.
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.
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
- Disney's (NYSE:DIS) channels were conspicuously absent when Sony (NYSE:SNE) first discussed which networks would be offered through its PlayStation Vue streaming service -- but Sony has quietly restarted talks with the Mouse House, TheStreet says.
- Disney's channels include ABC and the Disney Channel, but it's ESPN that may be crucial to a TV service with a mostly male built-in audience of PlayStation owners.
- Some variety will be welcome as channel selection has been an early criticism for PlayStation Vue. But ESPN is well-known as an expensive pickup for providers.
- When launched, the Vue service will likely cost $60/month or more and offer about 75 channels. It's part of a growing wave of a la carte subscription products coming, including from HBO, Showtime, Nickelodeon, and Sling TV.
- Previously: Report: HBO streaming standalone to cut deep into pay-TV subs (Jan. 22 2015)
- Previously: OTT device penetration rate on the rise in the U.S. (Dec. 03 2014)
- Previously: Dish opens Sling TV signups for all U.S. viewers (Feb. 09 2015)
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
Mon, Feb. 2, 5:35 PM
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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