Disney just gave investors a lot of news to digest including June quarter earnings that were slightly ahead of expectations, and announcement of a plan to launch an ESPN-branded streaming service with its purchase of 33% of Major League Baseball’s BAMTech.
Wall Street’s initial reaction? Disney shares are down 1.6% in post market trading.
The company reported quarterly net income of nearly $2.60 billion, up 4.6% vs the period last year, on revenues of $14.3 billion, up 9.0%. That beat the $14.2 billion analysts expected. Adjusted earnings at $1.62 a share beat the consensus forecast by a penny.
“Disney delivered another quarter of double-digit EPS growth, and we are thrilled with our continued
performance,” CEO Bob Iger says. “Our results are evidence that our asset mix is strong, as is our ability to execute in ways that enhance the Disney brand and create value for our shareholders while we invest for future growth.”
With the BAMTech deal, Disney agreed to pay $1 billion in two installments, the second in January 2017, and has an option to buy a majority of the operation “in the coming years.”
Meanwhile, BAMTech will partner with the entertainment company to deliver streaming video and digital products for Disney|ABC Television Group, and “future digital initiatives across the Company.”
Plans include collaboration on a ESPN-branded direct-to-consumer multi-sport subscription streaming service that the company pointedly notes will not include its linear networks.
The new service will have live regional, national and international sporting events.
“Our investment in BAMTech gives us the technology infrastructure we need to quickly scale and monetize our streaming capabilities at ESPN and across our company,” Iger says.
As a footnote to the deal, the companies note that the National Hockey League picked up a minority interest in BAMTech.
The earnings report shows that the Cable Networks — including ESPN — saw a 1% increase in revenues to $4.2 billion and a similar increase in operating income to $2.1 billion. The sports network’s affiliate and ad revenue grew, but was somewhat offset by “a decline in subscribers” and weakening overseas currencies. Results were down at Disney Channel, Freeform and Disney’s equity stake in A&E.
At the ABC-led Broadcasting unit, revenues rose 5% to $1.7 billion while operating income fell 6% to $282 million. Disney attributes the profit drop to “lower network advertising revenues” — with declining ratings outweighing rising rates — programming write downs, and losses at Hulu.
The Studio Entertainment operation had a gangbusters quarter with help from Captain America, The Jungle Book, and Finding Dory, as well as home video sales for Star Wars: The Force Awakens and Zootopia. Revenues soared 40% to $2.8 billion with operating income up 62% to $766 million.
Parks and Resorts fared well with revenues up 6% to $4.4 billion, and operating income up 8% to $994 million. The domestic parks drove the increase, offsetting a decline at the overseas venues. Although the company saw a drop in visits, it benefited from increases in guest spending driven by rising ticket prices.
Consumer Products and Interactive Media struggled with revenues down 1% to $1.1 billion with operating income down 7% to $324 million. Weak overseas currencies contributed to the problems, as did “an increase in revenue share with the Studio Entertainment segment and higher marketing costs” for merchandise tied to Finding Dory and Star Wars.
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