Disney Beats Parks and Streaming Expectations in Earnings Surprise

Image Credit: iStock, David Peperkamp

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Poor streaming results from chief rival Netflix had investors worried that Disney’s latest financial results would end up under the sea.

Instead, on Wednesday the world’s largest entertainment company rode high atop Magic Mountain. Disney beat out Wall Street’s forecasts, putting concerns about its growth prospects to bed like Sleeping Beauty.

When You Wish Upon A Star Wars

Disney’s performance has raised a lot of skeptical eyebrows in the last few quarters. Subscriber growth at its streaming service Disney+ sank at a quicksand pace and its theme parks struggled to draw crowds amid wave after wave of the coronavirus. Since hitting a $202 high in March 2021, Disney’s shares have tumbled nearly 30%.

Everything looked like it was about to get worse when Netflix missed subscriber estimates last month and its shares fell 20%. Investors pondered whether the streaming market had become more saturated than the fat in a hot dog. But on Wednesday Disney flipped the script:

  • The company made $21.82 billion in revenue in its latest quarter, up from $16.25 billion a year earlier and ahead of the $20.27 billion analysts forecasted. Off the back of hits like The Beatles: Get Back and Star Wars spinoff The Book of Boba Fett, streaming service Disney+ had 129.8 million subscribers at the end of December, up from 118.1 million a quarter earlier and more than the 124.7 million subscribers analysts expected.
  • Disney’s theme parks brought in $2.45 billion, compared with $119 million loss a year earlier, and park revenue doubled from pandemic lows with Genie+, a new service that lets customers pay an extra fee to skip the line for rides.

Growing Gains: Disney’s future is linked heavily to its streaming service, and a whopping 11.8 million new customers signed up for Disney+, way above the 8.17 million Wall Street projected and more than the 8.3 million Netflix netted in its latest quarter. As a result, Disney shares rose one percent for every spoon at Disney World’s Eight Spoon Café.