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Why Disney Shareholders Should Be Happy Enough With Q1

By Motley Fool Staff – May 15, 2019 at 11:32AM

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The entertainment empire is steadily marching forward.

Wall Street was expecting good but not spectacular results last week when Disney (DIS 3.70%) reported its first-quarter earnings, and that's precisely what it got. Revenue rose 3%, and its media and parks units' growth were notably strong.

In this segment from Motley Fool Money, host Chris Hill and senior analyst Jason Moser run down a few of the most important things that long-term investors should be watching, among them operating profit growth, the Marvel business, and the future of direct-to-consumer and over-the-top streaming video.

To catch full episodes of all The Motley Fool's free podcasts, check out our podcast center. A full transcript follows the video.

This video was recorded on May 10, 2019.

Chris Hill: Shares of Disney down a bit this week, despite a strong second-quarter report. Jason, particularly the parks division.

Jason Moser: Yeah. It was a strong quarter. I like to call this the Goldilocks quarter. I mean, it was nothing too terribly great, nothing terribly bad. I mean, it was really just kind of right up the middle. And with a company that has just finished pulling off a major acquisition, as Disney has, that's really all you want to see, is that they didn't completely screw something up. But the nice part about Disney is, they have the model that can make up for shortcomings in other segments.

Revenue $15 billion, was up 3% from a year ago. As you mentioned, the parks continued to get it done. The media division continues to get it done. The parks, they saw 5% revenue growth, but 15% operating profit growth. I think that really demonstrates that operating leverage we talk about in that model.

The headline, of course, is the Avengers: Endgame, over $2.3 billion box office receipts. That number will just grow. We always talk about the fact that those movies really aren't the biggest part of the business to begin with. But it doesn't hurt the cause. I think the real story for the coming quarters and years is going to be the burgeoning over-the-top department, the direct-to-consumer business that they're developing. That brought in revenue $955 million. Operating at a loss as they build out these services. But ESPN+ now has 2 million-plus subscribers, Hulu has 25 million-plus, they're forecasting Disney+ to have somewhere in the neighborhood of 60 to 90 million by 2024. Given the value in all of the IP that they have, I don't think those are too lofty a goal either. I mean, I can see a lot of different ways they could go with these services. And then we also saw, over the past couple of days, Netflix made the acquisition of some little children's entertainment provider. I think the fact that I can't really remember the name of it speaks to the value in the IP that we always talk about with Disney anyway. It's going to be a very interesting race here as we see Netflix and Disney build out these direct-to-consumer businesses. But I think Disney definitely has the leg up on the IP side.

Chris Hill owns shares of Walt Disney. Jason Moser owns shares of Walt Disney. The Motley Fool owns shares of and recommends NFLX and Walt Disney. The Motley Fool has a disclosure policy.

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