As with 21st Century Fox the day before, Walt Disney executives declined any questions regarding the possible purchase of some of Fox's entertainment business during Disney's quarterly earnings call.
Disney revenues were down 3% to $12.8 billion for its fiscal fourth quarter, with net income down 1% to $1.7 billion.
Among its closely watched cable TV subscribers, Chairman/CEO of Walt Disney Bob Iger says: “We have seen some sub losses, but not as bad as in previous quarters." Overall, cable revenue was flat at $3.95 billion.
Disney’s ESPN witnessed higher programming costs, while lower advertising revenue were offset by higher affiliate revenue. With regard to new subscribers from digital pay TV providers, Iger says: “We have seen a nice pickup in subscribers.” He didn’t go into details.
Iger adds that many digital TV providers, like YouTube TV, have been spending a far amount in advertising on TV sports, most recently YouTube TV advertising on the World Series. “It suggests they are going after the sports viewer,” says Iger. That’s good news for sports TV platforms, including its ESPN network.
Disney’s own forthcoming direct-to-consumer subscription digital video platform will be priced lower than Netflix, and Iger says that is largely because there are a lower number of titles/TV shows compared to Netflix. The platform will not be advertising-supported -- although ESPN's digital platform app, which will be launched in the spring, will be.
ABC’s broadcasting business was down 11% to $1.5 billion. The network also witnessed lower network advertising impressions and less local TV station political advertising. Some of this was offset by higher ABC network advertising rates.
Studio entertainment revenues were down 21% to $1.4 billion. Theatrical distribution revenues declined as a result of the performance of “Cars 3” in the current quarter, compared to “Finding Dory’ in the prior-year quarter. Consumer products revenues were down 6% to $1.2 billion.
Parks and resorts business was up 6% to $4.7 billion, thanks to international growth. Some results were impacted by the hurricane in Florida, which led to the closing of Walt Disney World for two days.