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Full Court Finance Podcast: Breaking Down Disney And ESPN's Streaming Future

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Welcome to the latest episode of the Full-Court Finance podcast from Zacks Investment Research, where Associate Stock Strategist Ben Rains discusses Walt Disney Co's (NYSE: DIS) recent quarterly earnings results and dives into everything investors need to know about ESPN+ and the company's streaming future.

Disney reported its Q1 fiscal 2019 financial results last week. Many investors were eager to hear updates about the entertainment giant's $71 billion deal to acquire vital 21st Century Fox (NASDAQ: FOXA) assets. The company is still waiting on some foreign territory approvals to clear before closing, but it has already cleared most of the major hurdles. The deal will also help bolster Disney's standing-alone streaming push along with its box office business.

Even without the Fox offerings, Disney is prepared to roll out Disney+ this year in order to challenge Netflix, Inc. (NASDAQ: NFLX), Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN), Apple Inc. (NASDAQ: AAPL), AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) and others. The company is set to demonstrate and provide more details about the streaming service at its investor day on April 11. Wall Street will closely watch for pricing information and content updates as Disney embarks on a new chapter in its storied history.

What we know so far is that Disney has increased its spending as it invests heavily in streaming, which includes its cord-cutter friendly ESPN+ platform. Disney's sports network streaming service has grown relatively quickly and the company has continued to expand its content offerings from UFC to European soccer. ESPN+, which launched in April 2018 and costs $4.99 a month, doubled its number of paid subscriptions over a five-month period to reach 2 million.

Meanwhile, ESPN's costs have climbed due to contractual rate increases for some of its key products like the NBA and the NFL. Shifting entertainment habits have hurt ESPN, but the company is still able to command one of the highest affiliate costs on TV. Plus, live sports will only become more attractive to advertisers in an age of decentralized entrainment. Let's also not forget that ESPN and ESPN+ could easily make their way into the world of legalized sports betting as professional leagues partner with Caesars Entertainment Corporation (NASDAQ: CZR) and MGM Resorts International (NYSE: MGM).

Related Links:

Mighty Mouse: Disney's Streaming Strength, Theme Park Spending, Box Office Hopes Make Street Bullish

Disney Reports Big Q1 Earnings Beat, Gets Boost From TV Networks

The preceding article is from one of our external contributors. It does not represent the opinion of Benzinga and has not been edited.

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