Tue, Aug. 4, 6:50 PM
- CEO Bob Iger took a large chunk of time at the beginning of the Walt Disney (NYSE:DIS) earnings call to vigorously defend ESPN -- a nod to recent rampant discussion about the sports empire's fortunes in the new multichannel environment.
- "We're realists about the business and about the impact technology has had," Iger said. "We're also quite mindful about trends in younger audiences in particular."
- "ESPN has experienced some modest sub losses -- though those are less than reported by a prominent research firm," Iger said. "And the vast majority of them, 80%, are due to decreases in multi-channel households ... only a small percentage due to skinny bundles." Nielsen has said that ESPN has lost 3.2M subscribers in just over a year.
- In the company's fiscal Q3 results, it noted that operating results at ESPN were driven by affiliate revenue growth even as ad revenue declined. Subscriber numbers were goosed by the August 2014 launch of the SEC Network. Lower ad revenues "reflected lower ratings and rates."
- Last week Iger suggested that ESPN could go direct to consumers (over-the-top) eventually, but today talked up the standard program bundle and said unbundling is still "a positive trend for us ... ESPN is a must-have brand," not only No. 1 in sports media but the leader in live programming. "Ninety-six percent of all sports programming is watched live," he said, particularly valuable in today's ad marketplace.
- Another concern tackled in the call was currency-exchange headwinds. New CFO Christine McCarthy said Disney was updating its old long-term guidance through 2016, seeing $500M in forex effects for revenue. And "due to lower sub levels, we now expect domestic cable affiliate revenue [growth] to fall short of previous expectation, but still in high single digits."
- DIS is now down 6.3% after hours.
- Previously: Disney -2.3% as Q3 revenues fall short; profits up 11% (Aug. 04 2015)
Tue, Aug. 4, 4:40 PM
- Walt Disney (NYSE:DIS) is off 2.3% in late trading following its fiscal Q3 report, where revenues fell short of analyst expectations even as profits grew 11% from the prior year and beat for the 11th straight quarter.
- Revenues by segment: Media Networks, $5.77B (up 5%); Parks & Resorts, $4.13B (up 4%); Studio Entertainment, $2.04B (up 13%); Consumer Products, $954M (up 6%); Interactive, $208M (down 22%).
- Interactive was the disappointment in revenues, held down by Disney Infinity sales. In Media Networks, profits were up 7% in the Cable Networks group, while slumping 15% in Broadcasting, thanks to higher costs for programming and labor and lower ad revenue.
- Parks & Resorts income was up 9%, to $922M, on domestic strength (volume, and growth in per-guest spending). Attendance was down in Hong Kong, and costs were higher there and in Paris.
- Studio Entertainment benefit from good comps of Avengers: Age of Ultron compared to last year's Captain America: The Winter Soldier. Tomorrowland was a drag -- but no write-down mentioned.
- For the nine months: Free cash flow was $4.5B, up $93M Y/Y. Capex increased to $3.1B, from $2.2B, mainly due to higher construction spending for Shanghai Disney.
- Conference call to come at 5 p.m. ET.
- Press Release
Mon, Jul. 27, 1:24 PM
- Adam Sandler's Pixels opened to a slack $24M at the domestic box office, allowing Marvel's Ant-Man (DIS -0.5%) to crawl away with the crown for another week.
- Ant-Man drew $24.8M to bring its two-week haul to $106M. Critically slammed Pixels, for its part, barely outdrew Minions (CMCSA -1.4%), which pulled $22.1M in its third week to finish No. 3.
- Pixels' merely-OK showing is a setback for Sony Pictures (SNE -2.1%), sitting around eighth place among major distributors this year and looking for its first $100M film since The Equalizer.
- Trainwreck (NASDAQ:CMCSA) made $17.3M to bring its two-week total to $61.5M. Among the weekend's other key debuts, boxing film Southpaw (Weinstein Group) beat Paper Towns (FOX -1%, FOXA -0.9%), $16.5M to $12.5M, despite playing in fewer theaters. The two films were No. 5 and No. 6 in domestic receipts respectively.
- Previously: Sony hoping for breakout with videogame film 'Pixels' (Jul. 24 2015)
Thu, Jul. 23, 11:18 PM
- As six Hollywood studios fell into the crosshairs of Europe's regulators -- who filed formal antitrust charges today related to pay TV access -- Disney (NYSE:DIS), for one, promised a vigorous fight.
- Responses were more straightforward, or absent, among the other targets: NBCUniversal (NASDAQ:CMCSA), Paramount Pictures (VIA, VIAB), Sony Pictures Entertainment (NYSE:SNE), 20th Century Fox (FOX, FOXA) and Warner Bros. (NYSE:TWX).
- Along with Sky UK (OTCQX:SKYAY), the six are charged with creating improper licensing deals that prohibited viewers outside the UK and Ireland from accessing paid Sky programming, blocking much of Europe from watching U.S. films and TV.
- "The impact of the commission’s analysis is destructive of consumer value and we will oppose the proposed action vigorously," said a Disney spokesperson.
- The charges are the result of 18 months' investigation by the European Commission. They may not stop at Sky, as investigations are ongoing into pay TV providers in Germany, France, Spain and Italy. Geographic limitations on digital viewing is seen to be holding back the unity of a fragmented European market.
- The bottom line: The EU could fine companies up to 10% of global annual revenue.
- Today: DIS -0.5%; CMCSA -3.2%; VIA -0.7%; VIAB -0.3%; SNE +2.9%; FOX -1.4%; FOXA -1.4%; TWX -1.2%; OTCQX:SKYAY -1.7%.
Tue, Jul. 14, 4:30 PM
- Shark Week delivered as promised for the Discovery Channel (DISCA +1.4%), leading the network to first place among primetime cable offerings last week.
- The channel averaged 2.46M viewers, a little above 2014's Shark Week total of 2.4M, along with some small gains in the adults 25-54 demographic.
- Disney Channel (NYSE:DIS) and Fox News (FOX, FOXA) tied for second with 1.6M average viewers, followed by USA Network, TNT and HGTV.
- On a 24-hour basis, Disney surpassed Discovery in overall viewers, both just ahead of the usual suspects (Cartoon Network, Nickelodeon, Adult Swim). Discovery won the demo on a round-the-clock basis, though.
Mon, Jul. 13, 3:14 PM
- Universal (CMCSA +1%) kept its 2015 winning streak going as Minions logged the second-best animated film opening ever, drawing $115.2M at home to top the box office (and even more overseas).
- The only animated film that opened better was 2007's Shrek the Third. It helped that Minions was literally everywhere (4,301 theaters).
- Two other openers were swept up in the chaos. The Gallows (TWX +1.2%) drew $10M to take fifth place, and Self/less got $5.38M to take eighth.
- The rest of the top five: Jurassic World (NASDAQ:CMCSA), $18.1M ($590.6M cumulative in five weeks); Inside Out (DIS +1.4%), $17.1M ($283.6M cumulative in four weeks); Terminator: Genisys (VIA +1%, VIAB +1.2%), $13.7M ($68.7M cumulative, two weeks).
- Combined with $124.3M outside the U.S. this week (and a bit more from an early global rollout), Minions has made just short of $400M worldwide. It would need momentum, but a $1B global mark isn't out of the question. The film hits 11 more territories in the next two months.
Wed, Jul. 8, 3:21 PM
- Nomura says some tough comps are coming next month for Disney (DIS -1.3%), even if it still likes the stock overall.
- Last year's Q3 (ending in August) benefited from World Cup ad dollars, and consumer products are likely to be skewed to Q4 this year with Star Wars events coming in September and beyond, note analysts Anthony DiClemente and Benjamin Black.
- The two lowered their Q3 EPS estimate to $1.39, from $1.44 (vs. a consensus of $1.43). Their full-year forecast is unchanged and Nomura's price target on the stock of $125 implies an 8% upside from today's price.
- Frozen makes for tough comparisons both in consumer products and considering its Q3 international home entertainment release last year. And the pair expects that despite the success of Avengers: Age of Ultron and Inside Out, "given the soft Tomorrowland box office showing, we now expect the Frozen comp to more than offset theatrical. As such, we are lowering our F3Q15E Studio OI growth estimate to -19% YoY."
- Previously: Disney wins tax break in exchange for $1B theme park investment (Jul. 08 2015)
- Previously: Disney starts Playmation toy demos, preorders; stock at record high (Jul. 07 2015)
- Previously: 'Tomorrowland' leads a weaker holiday box office (May. 25 2015)
Tue, Jul. 7, 5:26 PM
- Walt Disney (NYSE:DIS) is giving in-store demos of its technology-laced Playmation toy line in North American stores this week, and has begun accepting preorders for the toys.
- The toys -- developed along with partner Hasbro (NASDAQ:HAS), and designed to interact with one another using infrared, Bluetooth and motion sensors and to encourage active play -- launch on Oct. 4 with a line based on Marvel's Avengers.
- The demos will be available through launch in Disney stores, including reserved 30-minute slots for a heavier orientation with the toys.
- Disney shares rose 1.2% today to reach a record high of $117.19. Earlier today, Atlantic Securities upgraded Disney stock to Overweight.
- And in Star Wars news, a spinoff film focused on a young Han Solo is planned for May 25, 2018, with Christopher Miller and Phil Lord (the directing team behind The Lego Movie and the 21 Jump Street films) attached to direct.
- Previously: Disney unveils high-tech, active-play Playmation toys (Jun. 02 2015)
Tue, Jun. 30, 2:08 PM
- Walt Disney (DIS +1.5%) has chosen Treasurer Christine McCarthy as the new CFO, succeeding Jay Rasulo, and tapped Kevin Mayer as its chief strategy officer.
- McCarthy will report directly to CEO Bob Iger, while Mayer will report jointly to Iger and COO Thomas Staggs.
- As the firm's CFO, McCarthy will have responsibility now for Investor Relations, Corporate Planning and Control, Tax, Corporate Treasury, Corporate Real Estate, Facilities, Integrated Supply Chain Management, and Corporate Citizenship.
Wed, Jun. 24, 5:04 PM
- Walt Disney (NYSE:DIS) is up 0.4% after hours as it switches up its annual dividend for a semi-annual one -- of $0.66 -- and raises it 15% (on an annualized basis).
- It's not a tremendous yield at just over 1%, but longer-term investors may be glad to see a new frequency as well as the bump.
- "Disney delivered significant increases in revenue, net income and EPS for the first half of fiscal 2015," says Chairman/CEO Bob Iger. "We are pleased to raise our dividend 15% on an annualized basis, as well as increasing the frequency of our dividend payments."
- Previously: 'Inside Out' has Disney investors head over heels with new high (Jun. 22 2015)
- Related: Disney Is Breaking Out To New Highs (Jun. 24 2015)
Tue, Jun. 23, 12:51 PM
- Marvel (DIS +0.6%) and Sony (SNE +1.4%) have made their major casting decision for a high-stakes set of films by tapping English actor Tom Holland (The Impossible, Locke) as the latest Spider-Man.
- The move was an eagerly anticipated decision as the companies look to another reboot of the popular character (this time set in high school) for two stand-alone films in 2017 -- the first directed by Jon Watts, and set to bow July 28, 2017 -- as well as a debut appearance in Marvel's Captain America: Civil War.
- Spider-Man was previously portrayed by Tobey Maguire in three films directed by Sam Raimi, and Andrew Garfield in two Amazing Spider-Man films directed by Marc Webb.
- “For Spidey himself, we saw many terrific young actors, but Tom’s screen tests were special," says Sony's motion-picture chairman, Tom Rothman. "All in all, we are off to a roaring start."
- The move follows February's deal between Sony and Marvel to bring Spider-Man into the Marvel universe, a move long awaited by fans. Sony is hoping for a reinvigoration of the franchise after last year's Amazing Spider-Man 2 drew "only" $708M worldwide.
Mon, Jun. 22, 6:22 PM
- Inside Out was the first feature film by Disney unit Pixar that didn't lead the box office in its opening weekend -- that's a lucrative history that dates from 1995's Toy Story, through Finding Nemo, Up, Brave, and a couple of Toy Story sequels -- but its killer weekend helped push Disney (NYSE:DIS) to a new 52-week high.
- Shares reached the new high of $114.47 before settling to finish up 0.9% at $113.55.
- Inside Out's $91M was the highest opening ever for an original (non-sequel or adapted) story, and it exceeded some optimistic Disney thinking for $60M-$70M. The success is more impressive considering it's a tough sell (animated emotions inside the head of a child) up against youth-friendly dinosaurs. (Inside Out might have fared better against Fifty Shades of Grey).
- It's Disney's second major success this summer after Avengers: Age of Ultron (Inside Out just passed Tomorrowland). Next up: more Marvel in July with Ant-Man.
- The company just scheduled its fiscal Q3 results for a 4:15 p.m. release on Tuesday, Aug. 4, with a conference call to follow at 5 p.m. that day.
- Previously: 'Inside Out,' 'Jurassic World' both score in huge weekend (Jun. 22 2015)
- Previously: FBR: 'Inside Out' a nice midline project for Disney (Jun. 19 2015)
- Related: Illustrating My Fair Value On The Walt Disney Company (Jun. 16 2015)
Wed, Jun. 3, 3:50 PM
- Activision Blizzard (ATVI +1.6%) is extending its popular $3B Skylanders game/toy franchise -- with 20 vehicles.
- Skylanders Superchargers adds land, sky and sea vehicles to let players race through various terrain and environments along with 20 new characters. The game is out Sept. 20.
- Activision's getting increasing competition in this toys-to-life genre it pioneered, not only with Disney's Infinity (NYSE:DIS) and Nintendo's Amiibo (OTCPK:NTDOY), but also Lego, planning a game where players' real-life brick creations can be played inside the videogame.
- While Disney and Nintendo have a stable of characters to draw on, Activision may need new "hooks" (like vehicles) with each release since its characters are original creations.
- Activision reported that (including toys) Skylanders was the No. 1 console franchise and title globally in Q1 and outsold the No. 1 action figure line globally.
- Toys-to-life needs something new, though; trailing-12-months sales in the category grew just 2% in Q1 vs. 45% a year earlier.
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
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)
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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