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Hotstar brings some cheer to Disney numbers

Disney’s Parks segment operating revenue and income declined 10% and 59%.

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BENGALURU: Covid2019 has hit most businesses and hard! Events, including all the sporting ones, have been cancelled globally. Ad and other revenues have been impacted for media companies. The Walt Disney Company (Disney) had a steep fall in diluted earnings per share (EPS) in the quarter ended 28 March 2020 (Q2 2020, quarter under review) as compared to the corresponding year ago quarter. The company reported a 63 percent fall in diluted adjusted EPS to $0.60 in Q2 2020 versus $1.61 in the corresponding year ago quarter. Diluted EPS from continuing operations for the quarter under review decreased 93 percent to $0.26 from $3.53 in the prior-year quarter.

Disney has four segments: Media Networks, parks, experiences and products (Parks), studio entertainment and direct-to-consumer (DTC) and international.

Disney said in an earnings press release for Q2 2020, “The impact of Covid2019 and measures to prevent its spread are affecting our segments in a number of ways, most significantly at parks, experiences and products where we have closed our theme parks and retail stores, suspended cruise ship sailings and guided tours and experienced supply chain disruptions. In addition, we have delayed, or in some cases, shortened or cancelled theatrical releases and suspended stage play performances at studio entertainment and have seen advertising sales impacts at media networks and direct-to-consumer and International. We have experienced disruptions in the production and availability of content, including the cancellation or deferral of certain sports events and suspension of production of most film and television content. Many of these businesses have been closed consistent with government mandates or guidance. We estimate the Covid2019 impact on operating income at our parks, experiences and products segment was approximately $1 billion primarily due to revenue lost as a result of the closures. In total, we estimate that the Covid2019 impacts on our current quarter income from continuing operations before income taxes across all of our businesses was as much as $1.4 billion, inclusive of the impact at the parks, experiences and products segment. Impacts at our other segments include lower advertising revenue at media networks and direct-to-consumer and international driven by a decrease in viewership in the current quarter reflecting Covid2019’s impact on live sports events and higher bad debt expense and a loss of revenue at studio entertainment due to theater and stage play closures.”

Total revenues for Q2 2020 increased 21 percent Y-o-Y to $18,009 million from $14,922 million in Q2 2019. Total segment operating income declined 37 percent Y-o-Y in the quarter to $2,416 million from $3,816 million. Disney’s OTT Platform Disney+ includes Indian OTT platform Hotstar. Disney+ Hotstar is a part of Disney’s direct-to consumer and international segment and Disney+ Hotstar helped alleviate a bit of the drop in numbers according to the company. Disney+ average monthly revenue per user at $5.63 was higher than ESPN’s $4.24 and about 47 percent of Hulu SVOD only at $12.06  in Q2 2020, The company estimates that it had 54.5 million Disney+ subscribers as of 4 May 2020.

“Disney+ launched in a number of European markets during the quarter, which contributed to a total paid subscriber base of $33.5 million at the end of the quarter. And we are very pleased with the success of our rollout in Western Europe and India, including the execution of previously announced deals with some European platforms to distribute the service to all paid subscribers on certain of the widely distributed tiers and in India to convert our pre-existing subscription based Hotstar service to Disney+ Hotstar, revealed senior executive vice president and chief financial officer Christine M McCarth during an investor call.

Parks, experiences and products

The largest drop in absolute numbers was from Disney’s Parks segment, followed by a steep increase in operating loss from Disney’s DTC and international segment. Parks' segment operating revenue and segment income declined 10 percent and 58 percent respectively. Disney reported revenue of $5,543 million for Q2 2020 and $6,171 million for Q2 2019 from the Parks segment. Income from the segment was $639 million in Q2 2020 and $1,506 million in Q2 2019.

“As you know, Disney, like many other companies, has experienced widespread disruption. In mid-March, we closed our domestic parks and hotels indefinitely, suspended our cruise line, halted film and TV productions and shuttered our retail stores. And while these were necessary steps to ensure the safety and well-being of our guests and employees, our businesses have been hugely impacted,” said Disney CEO Bob Chapek.

“While it's too early to predict when we'll be able to begin resuming all of our operations, we are evaluating a number of different scenarios to ensure a cautious, sensible and deliberate approach to the eventual reopening of our parks. We will take a phased approach with limits on attendance using an advanced reservation and entry system, controlled guest density using social distancing and strict government required health and prevention procedures. These include the use of masks, temperature screenings and other contact tracing and early detection systems," revealed Chapek.

Disney’s direct-to consumer and international

Disney’s DTC and International segment operating revenue increased more than threefold (increased 260 percent) y-o-y in Q2 2020 to $4,123 million from $1,145 million in Q 2019. However, loss from the segment more than doubled (increased 111 percent) in Q2 2020 to $812 million from $385 million. Average monthly revenue per user (AMRPU) from Disney+ in Q2 2020 was $5.63. AMRPU for other contributors to Disney’s direct-to consumer and international segment numbers are:

ESPN ARMPU $4.24 in Q2 2020 versus $5.13 in Q2 2019, a drop of 17 percent; Hulu SVOD only ARMPU $12.06 in Q2 2020, which was 5 percent lower than $12.73 in Q2 2020 and Hulu Live TV + SVOD ARMPU which increased 29 percent in Q2 2020 to $67.75 from $52.58 in Q2 2019.

The company says that the increase in operating loss from its DTC and International segment was due to costs associated with the launch of Disney+ and the consolidation of Hulu. Results for the quarter under review also reflected a benefit from the inclusion of the TFCF businesses due to income at the international channels, including Star.

“Results at our DTC businesses had an adverse impact on the year-over-year change in segment operating income of about $500 million which came in a little better than the guidance we provided last quarter. We expect our DTC and International segment to generate about $1.1 billion in operating losses for the third quarter and we expect the continued investment in our DTC services, in particular, Disney+ to drive an adverse impact on the year-over-year change in operating income of our DTC businesses of approximately $420 million, revealed McCarth to investors.

Media Networks

Disney’s largest segment is media networks which comprises of 2 sub-segments – cable networks and broadcasting.

Media networks segment saw revenue increase 28 percent Y-o-Y in Q2 2020 to $7,257 million from $5,683 million in Q2 2019. Operating Income increased 7 percent Y-o-Y to $2,375 million from $2,230 million. Cable networks sub-segment revenue increased 17 percent Y-o-Y to $ 4,445 million from $3,793 million in Q2 2019. Cable networks operating income increased 1 percent to $1,799 million from $1,789 million. Disney says that the increase in cable networks operating income was due to the consolidation of TFCF businesses (primarily the FX and National Geographic networks), partially offset by a decrease at ESPN, and to a lesser extent, the Domestic Disney Channels and Freeform. The decrease at ESPN was due to higher programming and production costs and lower advertising revenue, partially offset by higher affiliate revenue

Broadcasting revenue increased 49 percent Y-o-Y to $2,812 million from $1,890 million. Broadcasting operating income increased 53 percent in Q2 2020 to $397 million from $259 million. Disney says that the increase in operating income was due to the consolidation of TFCF, largely reflecting program sales, and to a lesser extent, an increase at its legacy operations

Studio entertainment

Studio entertainment segment revenue increased 18 percent in Q2 2020 to $2,539 million from $2,137 million in the corresponding year ago quarter. Studio entertainment operating income declined 8 percent in the quarter to $466 million from $506 million. Disney says the decrease in operating income was due to lower results at its legacy operations, partially offset by the consolidation of the TFCF businesses. The decrease at Disney’s legacy operations was due to higher film impairments and decreases in theatrical distribution and stage play results, partially offset by an increase from TV/SVOD distribution

Confident about the future

“While the Covid2019 pandemic has had an appreciable financial impact on a number of our businesses, we are confident in our ability to withstand this disruption and emerge from it in a strong position,” said Chapek. “Disney has repeatedly shown that it is exceptionally resilient, bolstered by the quality of our storytelling and the strong affinity consumers have for our brands, which is evident in the extraordinary response to Disney+ since its launch last November.”

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