Disney Tops Wall Street Earnings Expectations Ahead of Streaming Launch

“Lion King,” “Aladdin” and “Toy Story 4” helped studio segment grow by 52%

Last Updated: November 7, 2019 @ 2:58 PM

Five days before the highly-anticipated launch of its streaming service, Disney reported fourth-quarter earnings on Thursday that beat Wall Street expectations.

For the three months ending on Sept. 30, representing the company’s fourth fiscal quarter, Disney reported $19.1 billion in revenue, narrowly beating analyst estimates of $19.04 billion. Disney also posted earnings per share of $1.07, which excluded certain items that affected comparability to prior quarters, which surpassed projections of $0.95 EPS.

For the full year, revenues were $69.57 billion, which were just under the $69.62 billion that analysts had projected. The company’s shares were up nearly 4% in after-hours trading on Thursday.

“Our solid results in the fourth quarter reflect the ongoing strength of our brands and businesses,” said Robert A. Iger, chairman and CEO, The Walt Disney Company. “We’ve spent the last few years completely transforming The Walt Disney Company to focus the resources and immense creativity across the entire company on delivering an extraordinary direct-to-consumer experience, and we’re excited for the launch of Disney+ on Nov. 12.”

Disney media networks contributed $6.5 billion for the quarter, up 22% from a year ago. The parks, experiences and products division contributed $6.7 billion in revenue, up 8% from last year, and revenue for Disney’s direct-to-consumer and international divisions (those are reported together) jumped to $3.4 billion, compared with the $800 million generated in the year prior quarter. However, the segment’s operating loss jumped from $340 million to $740 million, primarily due to the consolidation of Hulu and costs associated with getting Disney+ off the ground.

Disney’s film studio brought in revenue of $3.3 billion, up 52% compared with last year, due to the performance of “Lion King,” “Aladdin” and “Toy Story 4.” Disney still has its next “Star Wars” film, “Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker,” set to hit theaters on Dec. 20.

On Tuesday at midnight PT, Disney+ makes its debut, coming just 11 days after Apple launched its own streaming product, Apple TV+.

During its earnings call with analysts, Disney announced that FX will move the development of four series over to Hulu as part of its “FX on Hulu” launch. Iger also gave an update on subscriber counts for ESPN+ and Hulu, as well teased more “Star Wars” TV shows for Disney+.