Television

Disney's flagship streaming service to enter market in late 2019

The company reported strong earnings for the fiscal fourth-quarter

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MUMBAI: Walt Disney (Disney) reported strong earnings for the fiscal fourth-quarter topping analysts' expectations. While Media Networks revenue for the quarter increased 9 per cent year-over-year to $6 billion, Studio Entertainment revenues for the quarter increased 50 per cent to $2.2 billion. Along with the financial result, the company also announced that its streaming service set to launch late next year in US market which will be called Disney+.

“Disney+ will be offering a rich array of original Disney, Pixar, Marvel, Star Wars and National Geographic content, along with unprecedented access to our incredible library of film and television content, including all of our new theatrical releases, starting with the 2019 slate,” Disney chairman and CEO Robert A Iger said.

The content pipeline of the flagship service will also include The Mandalorian, the world's first live action Star Wars series written and produced by Jon Favreau. A rebooted version of Disney’s super hit The High School Musical franchise will be also a part of the content pipeline. Moreover, the service will be the exclusive home of the next season of the popular Star Wars animated series Clone Wars. A live-action Marvel series about Loki starring Tom Hiddleston is also being developed.

Its other streaming service ESPN+ which was launched six months ago already has more than 1 million subscribers. As of now it owns 60 per cent stake in Hulu also. Disney thinks there's an opportunity to increase investment in the digital platform on the programming side. However, as Comcast and AT&T Time Warner are other two partners in Hulu, it will keep an eye toward being fiscally responsible to the other shareholders.

While Disney purchased Fox for $71.3 billion in cash and stock, it is confident that the television business that it is buying is very attractive, not just in the US. “If you factor in Star in India and the rest of Asia, and you factor in Europe where they have a substantially greater footprint of channels than we do, which by the way may ultimately end up helping us with content and distribution when it comes to the direct-to-consumer business,” Iger commented.

Going beyond Wall Street’s projected earnings of $6.94 per share on $58.87 billion in revenue for the full year, Disney reported adjusted earnings of $7.08 per share on $59.43 billion in revenue. While the company is happy with the financial performance in fiscal 2018, they want to remain focused on the successful completion and integration of 21st Century Fox acquisition and the further development of our direct-to-consumer business.

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