Walt Disney Company DIS reported a strong earnings beat Tuesday on higher than expected revenue on a year-over-year gain by its Media Networks unit that includes ESPN.
Disney reported first-quarter earnings of $1.84 per share, while revenue came in at $15.3 billion for the December quarter. Analysts expected Disney to come in at $1.56 per share and estimated revenue of $15.18 billion.
Wall Street is closely watching Disney's plans to launch a streaming business to compete with Netflix, Inc. NFLX, which many analysts say the company is increasingly looking at as a critical key to its future, and Disney CEO Robert Iger said that was the company's focus as well. Media Network sales were up 7 percent year-over-year.
"Building a robust direct-to-consumer business is our top priority, and we continue to invest in exceptional content and innovative technology to drive our success in this space," Iger said in the press release.
Disney is expected to expound on its plans for how much it will spend on the streaming service at an investor day on April 11. One of the key things Wall Street will be watching is how much of a drag on earnings spending on the new service may be.
The upcoming year will also see Disney complete its acquisition of 21st Century Fox.
Media watchers have also had their eyes on Disney's ESPN for a while. The unit ended FY 2018 with about 86 million subscribers, down from 88 million in 2017 and analysts have been watching to see if cord-cutters continue to shrink the network’s subscription base.
Shares of Disney were trading up 1.7 percent after the bell at $114.50. Shares closed the regular session at $112.66.
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