Disney To Outperform TV Marketplace, Given Sports Content

Although cord-cutting remains a growing problem, Walt Disney should fare well when it comes to advertising revenues in future years, one analyst says, even as other legacy TV networks will find growth hard to come by.

“We forecast overall TV industry advertising revenue will remain flattish, reflecting a continued dynamic where demand for national TV advertising will continue to offset double-digit viewership declines,” writes Todd Juenger, media analyst at Bernstein Research.

“That said, with a large offering of sports, we believe Disney will be a market-share gainer. Hence, we model Disney's TV advertising revenue to grow low-single digits,” he adds.

Much of this comes via ESPN and ABC -- the latter now shares in some of the NFL programming spoils, due to the new long-term contract. ABC also has NBA playoffs and finals, while ESPN has Major League Baseball and the College Football Playoffs, and recently made a new seven-year deal for NHL hockey.



That said, the near term will be tougher to judge, says Juenger, especially considering comparisons to the previous year's period meant TV sports franchises had major disruptions/cancellations/postponements, due to the pandemic.

“This will cause sharp, unusual (and difficult to predict) swings in fiscal year 2021. For our normalized base revenue level, we are using fiscal year as the run-rate.”

MoffettNathanson Research estimated Disney’s total TV ad revenue from all its national TV networks and stations amassed $5.8 billion in 2020, and projected modest recovery in 2021, up 10% to $6.4 billion.

Looking at its premium ad-supported connected TV platform, Hulu, Juenger expects the best case “bull” scenario has Hulu’s revenue climbing from $7 billion this current fiscal year to $14 billion in 2024.

Hulu remains Disney’s top D2C (direct-to-consumer) business in terms of the highest revenue. In 2024, Juenger believes Disney+ will climb over Hulu with a projected $16.5 billion. In that year, ESPN+ is estimated to have $1.6 billion in revenue (up from $390 million this year).

1 comment about "Disney To Outperform TV Marketplace, Given Sports Content".
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  1. Ed Papazian from Media Dynamics Inc, April 19, 2021 at 6:48 p.m.

    Ad revenues do not necessarily correlate with profitability---especially when it comes to sports which, often, are loss leaders for those networks that present them. I doubt that the broadcast networks make a profit by carrying team sports, however their stations find such fare to be very attractive in terms of high CPMs charged to local and regional advertisers at virtually no cost for station break spots. As for ESPN, it would be interesting to see an honest breakdown of costs and revenues earned by the channel's team sports presentations as opposed  to the numerous lower rated talking head shows the channel airs. I suspect that the latter are far more profitable than the former. Sports is, however, a key element in the evolving business plans of the TV networks. They currently support high retransmission payments from the cable systems and satellite distributors---which account for virtually all of the networks' profits. And they are a major hook---or will be---for capturing subscribers for their new SVOD/AVOD offerings which are intended to be yet another profit center.

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