Many businesses are scrambling to secure enough inventory to meet demand this holiday season. Crates of goods are stacking high at the ports, and this increases the potential for missed sales opportunities for companies that rely on selling physical goods. The supply hurdles even extend to some technology companies in the semiconductor industry.
One area that is immune to supply chain problems is digital entertainment. Shares of Walt Disney (DIS -0.27%) and Activision Blizzard (ATVI 5.15%) have recently pulled back and could be great buys at these discounted prices ahead of important growth catalysts.
Let's find out a bit more about these two stocks and why they might be smart buys right now.
1. Walt Disney
Walt Disney's share price has delivered a total return of 432% including dividend reinvestment over the last 10 years, which surpassed the S&P 500's return of 333%. It was a great decade for the House of Mouse that saw acquisitions of Marvel Entertainment and Lucasfilm (Star Wars) turn out several blockbusters that fattened the company's bottom line.
Disney is not only a great long-term investment, but it seems like a smart stock to hold in the near term. Obviously, Disney's consumer product sales, which only generate a small percentage of revenue, could be affected by the supply chain problems at the ports, but that should be more than offset by the improving demand at the theme parks and continued subscription growth for Disney+.
The direct-to-consumer business (Disney+, ESPN+, Hulu) ended the last quarter with 174 million subscribers, with Disney+ up to 116 million. With the cross-promotion efforts across streaming, theme parks, and consumer products, Disney has many levers it can pull to bring in more subscribers and grow the value of the business over the long term.
Management plans to tap this synergy across these segments on Nov. 12 during Disney+ Day to grow brand awareness and increase engagement ahead of the holidays. On Thanksgiving day, Disney is launching Peter Jackson's six-episode documentary on the Beatles, and there's more compelling content to come later in fiscal 2022.
That said, no matter how inventory levels at retail stores turn out, Disney should have a strong holiday quarter to kick off what should be a strong year of recovery for the theme parks in calendar 2022.
2. Activision Blizzard
Activision Blizzard is one of the largest video game publishers in the world, with more than 400 million monthly active users and around $8.5 billion of annual revenue. The shift to a digital distribution strategy caused profits to surge over the last 10 years, leading to a 482% return for shareholders. With 88% of its revenue coming from digital channels, Activision is almost completely immune from supply chain problems.
Activision Blizzard should have a very strong fourth quarter to build momentum heading into 2022. On Nov. 5, the next installment of the Call of Duty series will release. The lifelike graphics fidelity of Call of Duty: Vanguard should keep millions of players engaged no matter how well-stocked retail shelves remain during the holidays.
The Call of Duty franchise has sold over 400 million units since its debut nearly 20 years ago. The yearly release is like an annual event for many gamers. Activision Blizzard has been on a roll with its content releases for this franchise since the launch of Call of Duty: Mobile in October 2019, which contributed to the company's record year in 2020.
Last quarter, hours played across all Call of Duty titles were higher than all of 2019. That high engagement tees up Vanguard for what should be a strong release, but investors also shouldn't overlook the catalysts further out with Diablo 4 and Overwatch 2. With the stock price off 23% from its highs this year, this is a great opportunity to buy shares.