April 21, 2018

ESPN Plus streaming service to launch this spring for $4.99/month

09 February 2018, 04:07 | Lionel James

Disney Earnings: Fox Acquisition, 'Star Wars' Fatigue Fears May Overshadow ESPN Subscribers

ESPN streaming service details confirmed

Disney (NYSE:DIS) reported relatively mixed fiscal first quarter earnings on Tuesday, February 6, as it beat profit expectations easily but missed on revenues. Revenues for the quarter increased 4 percent to $15.35 billion.

Adjusted earnings per share for the three months to the end of December rose 22% to $1.89 (£1.36), outstripping the $1.61 average of analyst estimates compiled by Thomson Reuters. This was partially offset by an increase in games, which was driven by licensing revenue from Star Wars Battlefront II.

It seems that Disney is marketing ESPN Plus as an additional subscription on top of traditional packages. "We're excited about what lies ahead, with a robust film slate, the launch of our ESPN direct-to-consumer business, new investments in our theme parks, and our pending acquisition of Twenty-First Century Fox", said Disney CEO Robert Iger.

The app will provide "countless scores and highlights", as well as access to live streams of ESPN networks for people who subscribe to multichannel pay-TV packages.

Disney's Theme Parks revenue grew 13% y-o-y and operating income increased 21% y-o-y, driven by growth in both its domestic and worldwide businesses.

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At its TV stations, advertising was lower, largely due to unfavorable comparisons to a year ago, when the presidential election season netted high political ad dollars. All this was more than offset by decreases in home entertainment and TV/subscription video-on-demand distribution.

The strong quarter was the result of an uptick in revenue across Disney's global theme parks, as well as recently enacted federal tax changes, which led to a $1.6 billion financial boost for the company.

Disney saw improved business from all its domestic parks and resorts, cruise line and vacation club businesses, as well as Disneyland Paris. The unit benefited by higher theatrical distribution results of Star Wars: The Last Jedi and Thor: Ragnarok in Q1 versus Rogue One: A Star Wars Story and Doctor Strange in the prior-year quarter.

Looking at Disney's Consumer Products and Interactive Media segment, revenue decreased by 2% to US$1.5 billion, while operating income fell by 4% to US$617 million.

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