Multimedia giant Walt Disney (NYSE:DIS) delivered fiscal first-quarter financial results after the markets close Tuesday that topped expectations to begin what is expected to be a transformative year for the House of Mouse. Shares rose about 2% in after-hours trading on the news.
Disney reported revenue of $15.30 billion, flat compared to the prior-year quarter, and topping analysts' consensus estimates of $15.18 billion. Profits were also better-than-expected, with adjusted earnings per share of $1.84, down 3%, but easily surpassing the $1.55 anticipated by analysts.
Mixed bag of results
It was a mixed bag among Disney's operating segments. Media networks produced revenue of $5.92 billion, up 7% year over year, while the recently renamed parks, experiences, and consumer products segment grew 5% to $6.82 billion, driven by strong results from the company's theme parks.
The biggest drag on the quarter was the studio entertainment business, as revenue declined 27% year over year to $1.82 billion, as this year's Mary Poppins Returns and The Nutcracker and the Four Realms proved no match for the strong performances by last year's Star Wars: The Last Jedi and Thor: Ragnarok. Finally, the recently introduced direct-to-consumer segment was down about 1% to $918 million, though that included a 4% decrease from an unfavorable foreign currency impact.
The company continued its historic cash generation, with nearly $2.1 billion in cash provided by operations, resulting in free cash flow of $904 million.
"Transformative year ahead"
Disney CEO Bob Iger wrote of the "transformative year ahead" and the upcoming Disney+ streaming video service, which is expected to launch later this year. "Building a robust direct-to-consumer business is our top priority, and we continue to invest in exceptional content and innovative technology to drive our success in this space."
The company recently reorganized its segments to adapt to its evolving business, making a home for the multiple streaming video services and the studio businesses that will come with the acquisition of Twenty-First Century Fox (NASDAQ:FOX) (NASDAQ:FOXA) when it completes the regulatory approval process.
With new streaming services on the horizon and the acquisition of Fox nearing completion, this latest report was a good way to start 2019.