Disney Exceeds Market Expectations Because Its Streaming Subscriber Losses Are Not As Severe As Expected

Disney’s fiscal first-quarter earnings report featured a beat on the top and bottom lines as well as smaller subscriber losses.

While the company’s direct-to-consumer and linear TV businesses struggled during the period, its theme parks experienced significant year-over-year growth.

The outcomes are as follows, with comparisons to projections from Refinitiv and StreetAccount:

According to a Refinitiv survey of analysts, earnings per share were adj. 99 cents vs. the expected 78 cents.

Refinitiv Disney+ estimates that revenue was $23.51 billion compared to the $23.37 billion expected. According to StreetAccount, there were 161.8 million total subscriptions versus the 161.1 million anticipated

With CEO Bob Iger back in charge, Disney is aiming to undergo a “significant transformation” of its business by cutting costs and giving its content producers more creative control.

“We believe the work we are doing to reshape our company around creativity, while reducing expenses, will lead to sustained growth and profitability for our streaming business, better position us to weather future disruption and global economic challenges, and deliver value for our shareholders,” Iger said in a statement ahead of the company’s earnings call.

Iger revealed during the call that the massive media and entertainment company would restructure, eliminate thousands of jobs, and save $5.5 billion in expenses. Three divisions will now make up the business:

Iger’s return coincides with legacy media companies having to deal with a rapidly changing landscape as ad dollars disappear and viewers switch more and more from cable to streaming. Even the streaming market has become challenging to navigate in recent quarters as costs have increased and consumers have become more frugal with their media purchases.

Around 2.4 million Disney+ subscribers most likely left the service during the quarter as a result of a recent price increase for Disney’s streaming services. According to StreetAccount, the company had been projected to lose more than 3 million.

In an effort to “move beyond the emphasis on short-term quarterly metrics,” the company announced on Wednesday that it will no longer provide long-term subscriber guidance, Iger said on the call. Late last year, Netflix decided in a comparable manner.

Additionally, Disney’s direct-to-consumer business has once again reported an operating loss, as expected in prior quarters. The operating loss for the most recent quarter was $1.05 billion, lower than the $1.2 billion Wall Street forecast.

Compared to $1.1 billion, or 60 cents per share, a year prior, net income was $1.28 billion, or 70 cents per share. From $21.82 billion a year ago to $23.51 billion today, revenue increased by 8%.

Disney’s parks, experiences, and products divisions were a bright spot, as their revenue rose by 21% to $8.7 billion during the most recent quarter.

A little over $6 billion of those sales were generated by its theme parks. The company reported that visitors to its theme parks, hotels, and cruises as well as to additive digital products like Genie+ and Lightning Lane spent more time and money during the quarter.

Iger added that by the end of the year, the business will request board approval to reinstate its dividend. Due to the pandemic, Disney stopped paying dividends at the beginning of 2020.

“Our cost-cutting initiatives will make this possible, and while initially, it will be a modest dividend, we hope to build upon it over time,” Iger said.

(Adapted from Reuters.com)


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