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Disney (DIS) Misses Q2 Earnings and Revenues; Stock Down

Media behemoth, The Walt Disney Company DIS, disappointed investors after missing earnings estimates for the first time in nearly five years. The company reported second-quarter fiscal 2016 earnings per share of $1.36 that fell short of the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $1.40. Nonetheless, the company’s earnings increased 11% year over year. Following, the result the Disney’s shares declined 5.5% yesterday in after hour trading session.

On the other hand, revenues increased 4% year over year to $12,969 million but missed the Zacks Consensus Estimate of $13,255 million. Notably, the company’s top line had beaten estimates in the previous quarter.

The company’s lower-than-expected results are primarily attributed to fall in Cable Networks and Consumer Products & Interactive Media businesses. Falling subscriber base and higher programming costs of these businesses have been a cause of worry for investors for quite some time now.

Also, Disney’s primary cash cow – ESPN – has come under a lot of pressure as the Pay TV landscape continues to alter owing to migration of subscribers to online TV. Falling subscriptions have had a telling effect on the network’s ad revenues. In the reported quarter, ESPN’s ratings were affected by change in time of bowl games. ESPN’s ad revenues declined 13%. So far, in the fiscal third quarter ESPN ad revenues have increased 5% year over year.

However, management believes that ESPN remains in a good position given that live sports programming is more valuable now than ever. Earlier, management had mentioned that it is concentrating on subscriber trends and wants to embrace and create new prospects to increase the value of ESPN in the growing market. ESPN will continue to benefit from its long-term deals with NFL, the NBA and Major League Baseball.

Coming back to the results, the company’s total operating income came in at $3,822 million during the quarter, up 10% year over year. The upside was primarily driven by 27%, 10% and 9% increase in operating income from Studio Entertainment, Parks and Resorts, and Media Networks, respectively.  

Segment Details

The Media Networks segment’s revenues dipped 0.3% to $5,793 million, primarily due to a 2% decline in Cable Networks revenues to $3,955 million. The downside was partially mitigated by a 3% rise in Broadcasting revenues to $1,838 million.

The segment’s operating income jumped 9% to $2,299 million. Cable Networks saw a 12% increase in operating profits to $2,021 million, whereas the Broadcasting segment reported an 8% decline in operating profit to $278 million. Growth in Cable Networks operating income was driven by surge in ESPN which benefited from rise in affiliate revenues and decline in programming costs. Affiliate revenue growth was primarily due to increase in contractual rate, which was partially overshadowed by fall in subscribers.

Parks and Resorts continued to outperform with a 4% rise in revenues to $3,928 million. The segment’s operating income jumped 10% to $624 million. Domestic operations were robust but international operations were hurt by lower footfall and higher operating costs at Disneyland Paris, lower volume at Hong Kong Disneyland Resort and also due to pre-opening expenses of the Shanghai Disney Resort. Increase in operating income at the company’s domestic operations was due to increase in guest spending, which was due to higher average ticket price.

The Studio segment generated revenues of $2,062 million, up 22% year over year. On the other hand, operating income surged 27% to $542 million. Increase in operating income was propelled by TV/SVOD distribution results and better theatrical results. Robust theatrical distribution results were primarily due to the grand success of Star Wars: The Force Awakens and Zootopia.

Made at a budget of approximately $150 million, Zootopia, was released in March. The movie has been doing a fabulous business and has earned more than $958.4 million globally.

Consumer Products & Interactive Media division saw a 2% decline in revenues to $1,186 million. The units’ operating income declined 8% to $357 million. The decline in operating income was mainly due the negative impact of foreign currency exchange rate, soft comparable store sales at the company’s retail business and lower results for Infinity.

Other Financial Details

During the quarter, Disney generated free cash flow of $2,250 million, up 12% year over year. The company ended the quarter with cash and cash equivalents of $5,015 million, borrowings of $15,367 million and shareholder’s equity of $44,124 million, excluding non-controlling interest of $3,886 million.

During the quarter, the company bought back 20.8 million shares for $2 billion.

Currently, Disney carries a Zacks Rank #3 (Hold). Some better-ranked stocks from the same space include Cablevision Systems Corporation CVC, Rogers Communications Inc. RCI and World Wrestling Entertainment Inc. WWE. Both Cablevision Systems and Rogers Communications sport a Zacks Rank #1 (Strong Buy), while World Wrestling Entertainment has a Zacks Rank #2 (Buy).

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