Disney posts losses for 2nd straight quarter

Daniel Fowler
November 14, 2020

And in response, it looks like more dining options are being added to the lineup at the resort in the coming days as Disney deals with these higher guest levels heading into the busy holiday season.

Since the coronavirus hit, Disney has accelerated its efforts to focus its business on streaming, which has been a bright spot during the pandemic.

Disney CEO Bob Chapek said he was "extremely disappointed" in the state of California's call to prohibit Disneyland from reopening despite the company's science-based safety protocols.

The gamble on streaming has paid off in a big way so far. Disney+, which costs $7 a month on its own and $13 a month when bundled with Hulu and ESPN+, hit 73.7 million subscribers as of October 3, up from about 60 million three months ago, the company said.

In addition, Disney reported that its total number of Hulu subscribers reached 36.6 million in October 2020, up from 28.5 million in September 2019.

Chapek expects that the new worldwide launch of Star branded general entertainment offering will enable Disney to grow their business further in a year's ahead.

As the Mandalorian, the bounty hunter from the popular Disney+ show, would say: "This is the way". Roughly 18 million of 73 million global subscribers are from India. AT&T recently said its new service HBO Max has seen 8.6 million activations since its May premiere, bringing HBO and HBO Max to a combined 38 million USA subscribers.

The effect of COVID-19 on Disney's other businesses has been stark. The pandemic led to a $7.4-billion reduction in operating income during the year, the company said.

Below are some of the most important items to note from the call.

Disney reported its fiscal fourth-quarter earnings today, which boosted growth in some areas and losses in others.

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Disney Plus has boomed during the pandemic.

Theme park reservations at Walt Disney World (at reduced capacity limits) are already 77% booked for the first quarter of the fiscal year 2021 with Thanksgiving week booked close to capacity.

Disneyland is expected to remain closed at least through the end of the fiscal first quarter.

Internationally, Disneyland Paris, which had reopened, was forced to shut down again last month as France instituted another lockdown.

During the earnings call, speaking about the reorganization that the company announced in October, Chapek said, "I would suggest that, given everything that's happening in the world, this is the ideal time for us to do a reorganization and I am 100% confident that this is going to play out exactly as we have intended".

Profits from the movie studio, meanwhile, tumbled 61pc to $419 million in the quarter.

Overall, Disney's direct-to-consumer segment saw revenue grow 41% year-over-year to $4.9 billion, while its operating loss fell from $751 million in Q4 2019 to $580 million this year.

Disney shares, which closed Thursday down 1.7% at $135.52, jumped about 6% in after-hours trading after the earnings release. ABC benefitted from lower programming costs and higher affiliate revenue, as well as an extra week in the quarter.

In terms of the Parks, Experiences and Products division, Disney has reported that revenues for the quarter have decreased 61% to $2.6 billion. "We are going to talk about this more on December 10", he said. That move has been vastly sped up by the pandemic, as well as increasing competition from new streaming services such as NBCUniversal's Peacock and WarnerMedia's HBO Max, not to mention older rivals like Netflix. "They really do need to invest in more content to drive consistent viewership and reduce churn".

Apple, for its part, has not released subscriber numbers for its Apple TV+ streaming service, though reports indicate that the platform has seen a lackluster start. Analysts expected a loss of 73 cents per share, according to FactSet.

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