Weak Cable TV Performance Weighs on Walt Disney’s Results

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November 10, 2016 5:01pm NYSE:DIS

Entertainment giant Walt Disney Co (NYSE:DIS) late Thursday posted disappointing fiscal Q4 earnings, led by weaker revenues in its cable TV and interactive media segments.

The Burbank, CA-based company reported Q4 EPS of $1.10, missing Wall Street’s view of $1.16. Revenue fell 2.7% from last year to $13.14 billion, also falling short of analysts’ $13.52 billion estimate.

Cable Networks continued to drag on Disney’s results. Segment revenue there, which includes Disney Channel and ESPN, plunged 13%, or $207 million, to $1.4 billion in the latest quarter. Lower advertising and affiliate revenue hampered ESPN’s results, along with higher programming and production costs. ESPN, which pays top dollar to secure the rights to several major sports broadcasts including Monday Night Football, is struggling amid weak NFL ratings and a wave of “cord cutting,” where millions of consumers are abandoning cable television subscriptions in lieu of streaming options.

Consumer Products & Interactive Media revenues were another standout on the downside. Revenue in that segment fell 17% from last year to $1.3 billion.

The company commented via press release:

“Fiscal 2016 was our sixth consecutive year of record results, highlighted by the opening of Shanghai Disney Resort, the phenomenally successful return of Star Wars, and our Studio’s record-breaking $7.5 billion in total box office. We remain confident that Disney will continue to deliver strong growth over the long-term as we further strengthen our brands and franchises, our technological capabilities, and our international presence.”

Disney shares fell $2.56 (-2.70%) to $92.40 in after-hours trading Thursday. Prior to today’s report, DIS had fallen 9.41% year-to-date, versus a 6.4% rise in the benchmark S&P 500 index during the same period.

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