Walt Disney Co (DIS) Tops Earnings Estimates, Misses Revenue Outlook

Walt Disney Co (DIS) Tops Earnings Estimates, Misses Revenue Outlook

Speaking on a quarterly earnings call, Disney CEO Bob Iger said, "If anything points to what the future of ESPN looks like, it will be this". Visitors flocked to an "Avatar"-themed land at Walt Disney World in Florida and to a "Guardians of the Galaxy" ride at Disneyland Resort in California, the company said". Disney saw a slight increase in cable revenue thanks to Freeform, where the Marvel series Cloak and Dagger will premiere in July, and its various Disney Channels. The apps will also be an opportunity for Disney to exploit all of the Fox content Disney acquires once its $52.4 billion purchase of Fox makes its way through the federal regulatory process. The decrease in operating income was due to lower advertising revenue, higher production cost write-downs and a decline in program sales income, partially offset by affiliate revenue growth due to rate increases. During the earnings call, Iger said that Disney is now developing "a few" Star Wars series for the new app, and is close to unveiling one of the projects soon.

BAMTech, which Disney has invested billions of dollars in, and runs streaming for HBO, MLB, WWE (WWE - Free Report), will power this new service.

For the December quarter, Disney reported net income of $4.42 billion and said revenue rose 3.8 percent to $15.4 billion.

But it was only at Disney's recent earnings call that CEO Bog Iger himself reportedly confirmed not just the existence of such plans but even the details of the upcoming service.

"We've actually been talking to them for a long time", Iger said of Benioff and Weiss.

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Iger said the ESPN app will deliver "important new experiences and services" and that "the changes will be dramatic".

Disney's Studio Entertainment revenue for the quarter was flat at US$2.5 billion.

Five years ago, when ESPN reached 98.8 million subs and charged operators $5.13 per head each month, the network generated around $6.1 billion in affiliate revenue.

In its first statement about the effort, Disney described it in broad terms, only confirming that the service will include a host of games from every major sports organisation in the USA and purchasable add-ons for those who want to follow individual sports like baseball, hockey, and soccer. Disney and Netflix announced past year that its landmark streaming deal will expire by the end of 2019, but not all films will leave the platform immediately.

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