Disney (DIS) reported fiscal second-quarter results that topped consensus expectations, but losses widened in its direct-to-consumer segment as the company continues to invests to become a leader in the streaming space.
The Burbank, California-based company posted adjusted earnings of $1.61 per share on revenue of $14.92 billion. Consensus expectations were for Disney to deliver adjusted earnings of $1.57 per share on revenue of $14.54 billion for the three months ending in March, according to estimates compiled by Bloomberg.
Shares of Disney rose 1.63% to $137.25 each as of 4:11 p.m. ET.
In the year-ago quarter, Disney posted adjusted earnings of $1.84 per share on revenue of $14.55 billion. Analysts were anticipating a year-over-year decline in results amid disruptions including Disney’s acquisition of 21st Century Fox’s assets, which closed in March, and the impending launch of the company’s Disney+ streaming service.
Both projects have been viewed as long-term bets on securing Disney’s dominant position in the entertainment space. The Street’s bullishness on Disney even amid its hefty near-term investments has been reflected in a stock price that’s risen 23% for the year-to-date, versus the S&P 500’s 16% gain.
But building out Disney+, as well as its other streaming services ESPN+ and Hulu, has been a drag on the company’s bottom line. Management said in April it does not expect Disney+ to be profitable until 2024. In its fiscal second quarter ending in March, Disney more than doubled operating losses to $393 million in its direct-to-consumer segment, where Disney+ is housed. Sales in the segment grew 15% to $955 million.
Meanwhile, operating income at Disney’s largest business unit, cable networks, grew 2% year-over-year to $1.76 billion. Theme park operating income grew 15% to $1.5 billion. Studio entertainment segment operating income declined 39% to $534 million, but Disney noted that this was due to tough comparisons in the year-ago quarter, when the blockbuster films “Black Panther” and “Star Wars: The Last Jedi” were both still in theaters.
Tuesday’s report encapsulates the first quarter with Fox’s film and television assets integrated into Disney’s operations. The acquisition provided the “mouse house” with an expanded content library as it attempts to build out a streaming service to compete with Netflix (NFLX) and other major media players.
“The positive response to our direct-to-consumer strategy has been gratifying, and the integration of the businesses we acquired from 21st Century Fox only increases our confidence in our ability to leverage decades of iconic storytelling and the powerful creative engines across the entire company to deliver an extraordinary value proposition to consumers,” Disney CEO Bob Iger said in a statement.
In April, Disney revealed that Disney+ would launch on November 12 for $6.99 per month, or $69.99 per year, pricing the package competitively with Netflix’s $8.99 per month Basic plan. The announcement came just weeks after Apple unveiled its own streaming service, Apple TV+, with pricing details still yet to be publicized.
Disney management said at its investor day in April that it expects between 60 million and 90 million global subscribers for Disney+ in the next five years. By comparison, Netflix exited its March quarter with 148.86 million global streaming paid memberships – although the pure-play streaming company is more than two decades old.
Emily McCormick is a reporter for Yahoo Finance. Follow her on Twitter: @emily_mcck
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