Disney reported on Wednesday that its efforts to save money are working, resulting in fewer losses in its streaming division. However, the company is grappling with challenges related to its traditional TV networks, which CEO Bob Iger is thinking about separating.
Why it matters: Investors are closely watching how Disney handles challenges in its traditional TV business while trying to make its streaming services profitable.
Details: Disney gained a lot during the pandemic as more people subscribed to its streaming services. However, most of those gains have disappeared, and Disney’s streaming subscribers are decreasing.
- Disney+ had a 1% drop in overall subscribers last quarter, mainly due to a 24% decrease in Disney+ Hotstar subscribers in India.
- ESPN+ and Hulu also saw limited growth compared to the previous quarter.
- Losses in Disney+ Hotstar subscribers, due to losing the rights to stream Indian Premier League cricket games, are not as impactful because these subscribers bring in less revenue.
- Managing losses in cable networks, as more people cancel cable, remains a challenge.
- Revenue from Disney’s domestic TV networks decreased by 4% last quarter, primarily due to a slowdown in the ad market.
- Disney’s overall revenue grew by 3.8% year-over-year last quarter, mainly from its parks and experiences division.
- The company beat Wall Street estimates on earnings, thanks to cost-cutting measures, including laying off 7,000 employees.
- Streaming losses narrowed significantly to $512 million from $1.06 billion last year.
- CEO Bob Iger highlighted improved profitability margins and stated they are on track to exceed their cost-cutting goal.
- Disney aims to make its streaming business profitable by 2024.
Challenges in the Industry:
- Shares in Disney have dropped 19% in the past year due to industry challenges like strikes impacting movie studios and streamers relying on original content.
- A slowdown in the ad market has made traditional cable and broadcast networks less profitable.
- Disney is exploring strategic deals, including a betting joint venture with PENN Entertainment for an app called ESPN Bet.
- Disney is considering buying out the remaining stake in Hulu from Comcast, or Comcast can force Disney to buy it next year for at least $27.5 billion.
- The company is also evaluating options for its Star India business.