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Disney Ekes Out a Profit Under the Weight of Pandemic Problems

A razor thin margin helps Disney grind toward the future.
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Despite the pandemic leaning heavy on its business, Disney posted a quarterly profit that surpassed “pessimistic Wall Street estimates,” WSJ reports.

Numbers To Consider:

  1. Profit: $17 Million (-99.2%)
  2. Total Revenue: $16.25 Billion (-22%)

Why It Matters: Disney usually kicks off its first quarter earnings with performance numbers from a Christmas Day blockbuster or a holiday-driven surge in theme-park attendance. But the Covid-19 world has devastated the company’s legacy businesses — North American movie theaters remain desolate and Disneyland “is closed to anyone who isn’t showing up for a Covid-19 vaccine shot.”

A Big Pivot: Surveying market conditions, Disney remains committed to shifting toward a streaming-first model, underpinned by its Disney+ platform.

  • Disney+ added more than 21 million new subscribers in Q1, reaching 94.9 million as of Jan. 2.
  • At the end of the fourth quarter, it had 73.7 million. Disney+ was launched in November 2019.
  • The service has been buoyed by its flagship show, “The Mandalorian,” and has seen growing interest from other recent releases such as Pixar Animation’s “Soul” and Marvel’s “WandaVision.”

A Tale Of Two Companies: “Disney executives provided some details of what a post-Covid-19 company might look like now that vaccinations have begun and the reopening of theaters and parks is on the horizon. The company maintains that ‘Black Widow,’ a Marvel superhero movie scheduled to premiere in May, will get a theatrical release, and said mass vaccinations by April would be a game-changer for its struggling parks division.”

The Future Is Bright: As recent as December, Disney reiterated its projections to reach 260 million Disney+ subscribers by 2024, “a benchmark that sent its stock price soaring.”

  • Disney shares improved by roughly 2% in after-hours trading Thursday.

Justin Oh:

Disney has half of the subscriber base of Netflix, built in a little over a year. This should show you that content is indeed King and Disney owns the biggest content kingdom. Long live the King.

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