Markets Mixed, But Disney Stock Rises After Aereo Loses in Supreme Court

Aereo's loss in the Supreme Court keeps Disney's streaming future within its control.

Jun 30, 2014 at 3:30PM
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As we near the end of the second quarter, U.S. stock markets are mixed rising as oil falls. There wasn't much groundbreaking economic news this morning. Tensions in Iraq and Syria seem to be at stable levels, so the mood today is that there's little cause for markets to worry that the U.S. will get dragged into another military conflict.

Oil now sits at $105.39 in late trading. I wouldn't be surprised if black gold loses some of the rally seen in recent weeks if Middle Eastern tensions don't elevate. On the stock side, the S&P 500 and Nasdaq Composite are up slightly,but the Dow Jones Industrial Average (DJINDICES:^DJI) has fallen 21 points near the end of trading. One company trying to lead the index higher is Disney (NYSE:DIS).

Disney and the streaming revolution
Disney stock was up 0.8% today after online broadcast company Aereo said it was suspending operations after losing a decision last week in the Supreme Court. Aereo allowed consumers to stream over-the-air broadcasts for as little as $8 per month, giving users access to channels like Disney's ABC. But the court said the company violated copyrights on broadcast television.  

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Streaming devices like the Apple TV and iPad are making it easier to cut cable's cord, which is forcing network owners to adapt. Source: Apple.

This is important for ABC and Disney because Aereo created an alternative to streaming apps, which currently must be accessed through cable subscriptions. For the time being, the decision keeps a potential rival, at least in broadcast television, from offering the channels for streaming.

Disney can take advantage of this by offering subscriptions through cable companies or directly to consumers and packaging its networks together. That's what it does now when negotiating with Comcast or Time Warner, but the same leverage can be used when negotiating streaming deals. 

Disney is one of the early movers in the streaming space, so we can expect it to continue pushing the envelope of streaming subscriptions. Last quarter alone, Disney generated $5.1 billion in revenue from media networks and $2.1 billion in operating income. That's nearly half of the company's revenue and nearly two-thirds of its operating income.  

While Aereo wasn't a long-term threat that could have sunk Disney, it did push the envelope and make it easier for consumers to cut the cable cord. That could have been bad for Disney, so the win was an incremental positive. But look for the company to continue focusing on the streaming revolution, because customers demand streaming options and Disney has some of the most valuable content: ESPN, ABC, and many other networks. The company just got a little more control over what that future of streaming looks like.

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Travis Hoium manages an account that owns shares of Apple. The Motley Fool recommends Apple and Walt Disney. The Motley Fool owns shares of Apple and Walt Disney. Try any of our Foolish newsletter services free for 30 days. We Fools may not all hold the same opinions, but we all believe that considering a diverse range of insights makes us better investors. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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