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Disney Q2 earnings up after Fox acquisition and ahead of streaming launch

The Walt Disney Co. reported strong earnings in the second quarter, following the acquisition of 21st Century Fox and the announcement of the company’s streaming service, launching in November. Total revenues ...
May 9, 2019

The Walt Disney Co. reported strong earnings in the second quarter, following the acquisition of 21st Century Fox and the announcement of the company’s streaming service, launching in November.

Total revenues reached US$14.92 billion in the quarter ending on March 30, 2019. That’s up 3% from the same period in 2018 ($14.55 billion).

Disney’s acquisition of Fox’s film and television assets, including a 60% interest in Hulu, (at a cost of $71.3 billion) was completed on March 20. Revenue for 21st Century Fox for the 11 days of consolidation at the end of the quarter totaled $373 million. Direct-to-consumer and international revenues, which include Hulu, were $955 million, up 15% from 2018 ($831 million). Stand-alone Hulu figures were not released.

Cable broadcasting revenue was up 2% at $3.71 billion, with the jump largely attributed to growth at ESPN. Meanwhile, broadcasting was down 2% at $1.82 billion.

On the Studio Entertainment side, revenues dropped by 15% to $2.1 billion. Lower operating income was due to a decrease in theatrical and home entertainment distribution results, partially offset by an increase in TV/SVOD distribution. The immense success of Marvel and Star Wars properties in theaters and on home media last year with few comparable releases in Q2 was largely responsible for the dip.

Major gains were also made in the parks, experiences and products division.

The overall growth at Disney comes months before Disney+ launches in November, with a slate of unscripted programming set to drop on the platform at launch and throughout the following year. Announced projects include Dolphin Reef, The World According to Jeff Goldblum, The Magic of the Animal Kingdom, Into the Unknown: The Making of Frozen 2, Marvel’s 616, Encore!, Ink & Paint, Earthkeepers (w/t), Be Our Chef, Cinema Relics: Iconic Art of the Movies (w/t), Marvel’s Hero Project, (Re)Connect, Rogue Trip, Shop Class and an as-yet untitled Walt Disney Imagineering docuseries.

“The positive response to our direct-to-consumer strategy has been gratifying, and the integration of the businesses we acquired from 21st Century Fox only increases our confidence in our ability to leverage decades of iconic storytelling and the powerful creative engines across the entire company to deliver an extraordinary value proposition to consumers,” said Walt Disney Company chairman and CEO Bob Iger (pictured) in a statement.

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