wnol.info July 20 2018

Disney Q1 Results Positive, Adds New ESPN App

July 20 2018, 06:45 | Alonzo Simpson

3 things to watch as Disney reports first-quarter earnings

ESPN streaming service details confirmed

"And we're not only excited about it, but, if anything, points to what the future of ESPN looks like".

Disney shares closed higher in the US Tuesday, with after-hours activity also placing the stock in the green, Wednesday, as the media company posted upbeat - if mixed - results. First-quarter results also compare to consensus estimates for EPS of $1.61 and $15.5 billion in revenues. Excluding those games, ESPN ad revenue was still down 7%. The network is attached to a large number of basic cable packages, and when people drop cable its numbers dip. This rings as "music to the ears of investors that have long awaited for this strategic move", asserts the analyst, concluding on a bullish note: "This over the top service will roll out in the spring and we believe this was a "no brainer" move for Iger to launch this and further capitalize on its flagship ESPN franchise".

Higher losses from streaming service Hulu, in which Disney will become a majority stakeholder pending the close of its Fox acquisition, were partially attributed to an equity decrease in investee income from US$119 million in the prior-year quarter to US$50 million.

Disney's direct-to-consumer sports streaming service, ESPN Plus, is due to launch in the United States this spring as part of a revamped ESPN app, according to Mouse House CEO Bob Iger. The offering will be built into ESPN's main mobile app which will be redesigned to have three main sections - scores and news, live streaming via cable authentication, and ESPN Plus.

The app will also have original content and provide access to ESPN's library of programming, including the documentary series 30 for 30.

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In a call with Wall Street analysts, reported on by Deadline.com, Iger said that Disney doesn't need to invest a lot in new content because it already owns the rights to popular movies and shows. But many sports fans might be left wondering what exactly they are paying an extra five dollars a month for. The company will be finally able to make use of streaming technology BAMTech.

Iger said that ESPN Plus will feature a "greatly expanded array of programs and live events for sports fans who want even more content".

The final nails of the terrestrial television coffin are slowly being hammered in as the major networks and sporting leagues drag their feet to offer more affordable live streaming options.

Disney is in the process of creating a ESPN Plus app, that it plans to sell to United States customers for $4.99 per month.

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