Walt Disney (NYSE:DIS) is one of the companies severely affected by the coronavirus pandemic. Significant portions of its operations depend on bringing large groups of people together. Many of those operations, like its theme parks, had to shut down during the pandemic and have been slow to return to normal. Although one bright spot for the company has been the customer response to its streaming service Disney+, it has not been nearly enough to make up for the losses elsewhere.
The company will report its fourth-quarter and full-year results on Nov. 12, and what follows are three important factors to pay close attention to, with each having the potential to change the trajectory of the company's stock price.
The media segment is holding down the fort
The first thing to look at in the announcement will be the overall growth in streaming subscribers. As of June 27, the company had over 100 million members across its Disney+, ESPN+, and Hulu streaming services. Given that the international expansion continued for Disney+ in the quarter, it would not be surprising if the company reports significant increases.
The second thing to watch is the company's media segment. In the first nine months of its fiscal 2020, it brought in over 95% of overall operating profits as the coronavirus pandemic disrupted operations. Still, the segment is plagued by an increasing rate of cord-cutting and record low viewership of sports programming.
And third is what management has to say on several important topics, including the success of its parks since reopening and details on the further international expansion of its streaming services.
Most of its theme parks have been allowed by local governments to reopen, albeit at limited capacity, except for its Disneyland park in Anaheim, California. The recent surge in coronavirus cases increases the risk that it may need to temporarily close parks again and further delay the reopening of Disneyland.
Disney+ plans to make the service available this month in Latin America, a region where Netflix has 36 million paying subscribers.
What this could mean for investors
The average analyst estimate on Wall Street is for the company to report revenue of $14.39 billion and a loss per share of $0.71. The revenue figure, if it proves accurate, will be 25% below last year's number.
It's certainly been a volatile year for Disney, with the surprise impacts from the coronavirus pandemic added onto the expected negative effects from cord-cutters. The company made adjustments to deal with the changing circumstances, including a major reorganization designed to accelerate the company's success in streaming. It remains to be seen if this consumer discretionary stock can pivot out of this period and come out stronger in the long run with a robust streaming lineup complementing its other segments.