Monday December 4, 2023

Streaming Saves Disney Profits From The Red

  • Disney narrowly posted a pre-tax profit, due to the rapid expansion of its streaming services.
  • College basketball and NBA revenues were down, but cricket enthusiasm has fueled expansion overseas.
Butch Dill-USA TODAY Sports
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Disneyland is still closed, but Disney+ kept the Mouse afloat.

Disney’s theme parks lost $119 million in the final quarter of 2020, compared to a $2.5 billion profit in the same quarter last year, but pre-tax revenue narrowly surpassed losses for the media giant, thanks in part to Disney+’s rocketing subscriber base.

The company eked out $0.02 in earnings per share, far below the $1.17 figure from the previous year, but better than expectations.

  • Disney+ subscribers reached 94.9 million on January 2, more than tripling over the last year.
  • ESPN+ subscribers doubled to 12.1 million.
  • The company earned less than usual from broadcasting college football and NBA games due to decreased viewership.

California’s Disneyland has been shuttered for nearly a year, with limited reopening scheduled for mid-March. Disney World, leaning on Florida’s more laissez-faire pandemic policies, has been open with alterations since July. 

“Disney+ has exceeded even our highest expectations,” said CEO Bob Chapek, who noted that the company anticipates a stronger 2021 due to theme parks reopening and the expansion of its cricket-fueled streaming service, Disney+ Hotstar, in Asian markets.

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