The New York Stock Exchange welcomes The Walt Disney Company (NYSE: DIS), today, Tuesday, May 4, 2021, in honor of Star Wars Day.
Disney reported earnings after the bell. Here are the results.
- Earnings per share: 80 cents vs 55 cents expected in a Refinitiv survey of analysts
- Revenue: $17.02 billion vs $16.76 billion expected in the survey
Disney is expected to show continued growth in its streaming service, Disney+. StreetAccount estimates the company to report 114.5 million subscribers in its third quarter. The segment had 103.6 million in its fiscal second quarter.
Disney+ had been bolstering the company’s success while it was losing business from Covid restrictions on theatrical releases, parks and cruises, but numbers indicated growth was starting to slow as of its prior quarter. Still, the company said last year it plans to see between 230 million to 260 million subscribers to Disney+ by 2024.
Analysts have also remained optimistic, citing the company’s upcoming slate of shows and movies along with new market launches.
Exclusive content released on the streaming service during the quarter included episodes of Marvel series “The Falcon and the Winter Soldier” and “Loki,” Star Wars’ “The Bad Batch” as well as the second season of “High School Musical the Musical the Series.”
Most notably, the “Loki” series was one of the top-watched programs during the quarter across all industry streaming platforms.
Disney also released its latest Pixar feature “Luca” on Disney+ for free and “Cruella” as part of its premier access program, which places movies on streaming and in theaters on the same day. Subscribers that wished to watch “Cruella” at home needed to pay an additional $30.
Controversy over this strategy, which was also implemented for “Mulan” and “Raya and the Last Dragon,” arose in July after the simultaneous release of “Black Widow.” While the box office receipts of the Marvel film and the more than $60 million in Disney+ sales will not be reflected in this quarter’s earnings, analysts will be keen to hear about the company’s future theatrical plans.
It was clear that streaming cannibalized box office receipts, so much so that “Black Widow” star Scarlett Johansson sued Disney for breach of contract. The actress claims that by placing the Marvel film on streaming at the same time as its cinematic release, she lost out on major box office bonuses.
Disney’s domestic parks eased restrictions in April, which led to a boost in attendance. While guest capacity wasn’t at peaks seen before the pandemic, analysts expect to see a major boost in revenue from parks, experience and consumer products division.
In late July, rival Comcast, which owns and operates several Universal Studios theme parks in the U.S. and aboard, reported its parks turned a profit, marking the division’s first profitable period since the first quarter of 2020.
The resurrection of the theme park industry is critical to Disney’s bottom line. After all, in 2019, the segment, which includes cruises and hotels, accounted for 37% of the company’s $69.6 billion in total revenue.
Investors are eager to hear how the company’s new Avengers Campus theme park land, which opened during the quarter in California, is performing.
This story is developing.
Disclosure: Comcast is the parent company of NBCUniversal and CNBC. NBCUniversal operates Universal Studios theme parks.