The Walt Disney Company is experiencing a major turnaround, according to CEO Bob Iger. The company announced surprising earnings, including a 20% jump in earnings per share for the year, which surpassed Wall Street’s estimates. Despite reporting revenues that were nearly in line with last year and missing Wall Street’s expectations for the first quarter, Disney’s stock surged 7% in after-hours trading following the earnings report.
Iger attributes the successful quarter to a new era for the company, focusing on reinforcing ESPN for the future, building a profitable growth business with streaming, revitalizing film studios, and boosting growth in parks and experiences. Additionally, Disney’s streaming service, which includes Disney+, Hulu, ESPN+, and Hotstar, saw operating losses narrow, and the company is aiming to turn a profit in this division by the end of the year. Furthermore, Disney announced plans to crack down on password sharing later this year, following in the footsteps of Netflix, in order to increase profitability in its streaming services. This coincides with a major push into video games, as Disney announced a $1.5 billion equity stake in Epic Games, signaling a significant shift into the gaming space for the entertainment giant.
Overall, the company’s strong fiscal first-quarter results are seen as a positive step forward, fending off pressure from activist investors and restoring confidence among shareholders and corporate leaders. Disney’s continued efforts to bolster its streaming platform, cut losses, and expand into new ventures like video games demonstrate its commitment to maintaining and expanding its market position in the rapidly changing media landscape.
On a more lighthearted note, Disney also announced that Taylor Swift’s concert film would make its streaming debut exclusively on Disney+ on March 15, adding to the suite of entertainment offerings on the platform.