Mouse plans, doused brands, and house bands colored in the week that was.
When you wish upon a quarterly star
These remain interesting times for family entertainment giant Disney
As expected, the 15% spike in ratings at ABC translated into a healthy period for its media networks division, while its theme parks benefited from a healthier economy that didn't flinch at the company's higher ticket prices. Even the one segment that suffered a top-line stumble -- consumer products -- more than made up for it by producing a spike in operating profits after selling off its Disney Store business late last year.
With the Disneyland celebration kicking off globally, the theme park strength is bound to continue. Sponsors will be paying up for ABC ad time for the new fall season now that the company is a broadcasting magnet again. Roy's camp has a legitimate beef regarding how the search process was carried out, but the company is doing so well right now that complaints are likely to fall on deaf ears.
Sam Walton's place has grown up over the years, but not fast enough
If you've been following Wal-Mart
Then again, when's the last time Wal-Mart was selling for less than 20 times trailing earnings? As the company tackles image problems and copes with its gargantuan size as a heady growth inhibitor, it's also a bit of a bargain these days. Rest easy, Sam. Your empire is still safe and very, very sound.
And then the mariachi band showed up and sang "La Cucaracha"
Music is all about timing. That being said, Yahoo!'s
Timing? Well, the service's debut came out just as Napster was about to announce that its quarterly loss had tripled, despite a healthy boost in revenues. Yahoo!'s access to a wide spectrum of online regulars will allow it to market its all-you-can-stream plan for far less than its competitors.
The declining price of virtual jukeboxes will make music fans happy, but what about the music services and the music makers? That remains to be seen. Obviously, Yahoo! wouldn't have priced its service so aggressively unless it thought it could make a difference. The record labels stand to gain nicely if consumers take to the digital-distribution model, because it means no inventory, no returns, and no CD duplication and printing costs. So maybe we can all get along here, joining hands and strumming along to some sappy, happy song.
The headlines behind this week's stories:
Until next week, I remain,
Longtime Fool contributor Rick Munarriz loves music as much as he loves a good bargain. He does own shares in Disney. The Foo l has a disclosure policy. He is also part of the Rule Breakers newsletter research team, seeking out tomorrow's ultimate growth stocks a day early.