How Disney Earnings Were Saved by Its Theme Parks

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Walt Disney Co. (NYSE: DIS) reported fiscal first-quarter 2018 results after markets closed Tuesday. The entertainment giant posted quarterly adjusted EPS of $1.89 and $15.35 billion in revenues. In the same period a year ago, the company reported EPS of $1.55 on revenues of $14.78 billion. First-quarter results also compare to consensus estimates for EPS of $1.61 and $15.5 billion in revenues.

Adjusted EPS does not include a $1.6 billion benefit related to recent changes in U.S. tax law and certain other one-time items. On a GAAP basis, Disney posted EPS of $2.91.

Cable networks revenue increased 1% and broadcasting networks revenues fell 3%. Total media networks revenue was flat at $6.24 billion. Operating income fell 12% from $1.36 billion to $1.19 billion.

Operating income from broadcast networks fell by 58% to $50 million. Disney attributed the drop to lower advertising revenue, higher production cost write-downs and a decline in program sales income.

CEO Robert Iger said:

The strategic investments we’ve made have driven meaningful growth over the long term, and we remain confident in our ability to continue to deliver significant shareholder value. We’re excited about what lies ahead, with a robust film slate, the launch of our ESPN direct-to-consumer business, new investments in our theme parks, and our pending acquisition of Twenty-First Century Fox.

Revenues at Parks and Resorts rose 13% to $5.15 billion and operating income rose 21% to $1.35 billion. The company said that higher operating income was driven by guest spending growth and an increase in attendance, partially offset by higher costs. Guest spending growth was due to higher average ticket prices; food, beverage and merchandise spending; and average daily hotel room rates. That’ll usually do it.

Studio revenues fell 1% to $2.5 billion and operating income slipped 2% to $829 million.

For the fiscal second quarter, analysts are looking for EPS of $1.70 and revenues of $14.02 billion. For the full year, consensus estimates call for EPS of $6.54 and revenues of $58.58 billion.

Shares closed up about 1.4% on Tuesday at $106.17. In Wednesday’s premarket trading, the shares were up another 1.6% at $107.83. The stock’s 52-week trading range is $96.20 to $116.10.  The consensus 12- month price target was $118.15 before last night’s announcement.