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Disney Stock Sinks After Q4 Earnings Miss

A slowdown in streaming growth for Disney+ is the main culprit

Disney was hammered on Wednesday by Wall Street following its fourth quarter earnings report, which missed on both earnings and revenue, as well as experienced a slowdown in streaming growth.

The company reported revenue of $18.53 billion during the quarter ending Sept 30, 2021, which represents its fiscal fourth quarter. Wall Street expected Disney revenue to come in at $18.79 billion. Disney also posted earnings per share of 37 cents, when analysts were expecting a per share value of 51 cents.

Disney’s stock has plummeted in after-hours trading, falling by more than 4%.

Disney+ saw its slowest quarter ever in terms of growth, adding just 2 million subs for a total of 118 million. Overall, Disney has about 179 million streaming subscribers across Hulu and ESPN+.

Even so, Disney CEO Bob Chapek tried to spin a more happy picture:

“This has been a very productive year for The Walt Disney Company, as we’ve made great strides in reopening our businesses while taking meaningful and innovative steps in Direct-to-Consumer and at our Parks, particularly with our popular new Disney Genie and Magic Key offerings,” Chapek said. “As we celebrate the two-year anniversary of Disney+, we’re extremely pleased with the success of our streaming business, with 179 million total subscriptions across our DTC portfolio at the end of fiscal 2021 and 60% subscriber growth year-over-year for Disney+. We continue to manage our DTC business for the long-term, and are confident that our high-quality entertainment and expansion into additional markets worldwide will enable us to further grow our streaming platforms globally.”

Broken down by segment, the direct to consumer unit drew $4.56 billion in revenue, an increase of 38% from last year. The TV networks unit that includes ESPN and ABC was down 4% with $6.7 billion (last year’s quarter had political ad spending with an election year), while its theme parks division nearly doubled from last year’s COVID-impacted quarter with $5.45 billion (up 99%).

The content sales and licensing division, which includes the film studio, took a loss of $65 million, despite the releases “Black Widow,” “Shang-Chi,” “Jungle Cruise” and the Fox-produced “Free Guy.” Disney attributed this to higher marketing costs and a box office that, while recovering, is still nowhere near its pre-COVID levels.

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