The Walt Disney Company (NYSE:DIS) just reported its full-year FY2017 numbers with its Q4 numbers falling short of analysts’ estimates, missing on both EPS and revenue coming in at $1.07 (missing by $0.08) and $12.78 billion (missing by $560 million), respectively. On an annual basis, EPS marginally decreased to $5.69 for FY2017 from $5.72 for FY2016. All financial metrics insignificantly decreased year-over-year with a slight increase in free cash flow. All operating segments insignificantly decreased year-over-year as well. However, Parks and Resorts were a bright spot for FY2017. Now with FY2017 in the books, FY2018 is off to a great start with strongholds in streaming (Hulu, BAMTech, Sling offerings), future inroads into other streaming initiatives with a Disney branded service to directly compete with Netflix (NFLX) and an ESPN streaming offering slated for release in 2018 and finally a record-breaking movie release with Thor: Ragnarok already surpassing $212 million domestically and $650 million worldwide on its way to possibly breaking the prestigious 1 billion dollar mark only after two weeks in release. I feel too much of an emphasis is being placed on ESPN as it weighs less on overall profits. Disney is evolving to address the deteriorating Media Networks business segment with initiatives put forth previously and doubling down during its recent conference call. Investors appear to be looking past this ESPN issue finally as seen in the price action of Disney stock after releasing a lukewarm earnings announcement. Disney has one of its biggest movie slates for FY2018 and a potential acquisition of 21st Century Fox’s assets to further drive growth. Disney offers a compelling long-term investment opportunity considering the growth, pipeline, Media Networks remediation plan, diversity of its portfolio, share repurchase program and dividend growth.
Disney’s New Growth Pivot - Streaming
ESPN remained at the forefront of investors’ minds, serving as the root cause of this streaming initiative as profits and revenue from the Media Networks division have stalled out over the past few years. Simply put, Disney is going all-in on a Disney branded streaming service come 2019. As investors digest the earnings report and fixate on the eroding Media Networks division, I think Disney is offering a long-term buying opportunity near ~$100 per share. This has been seen by the price movement in Disney stock post-earnings which saw a ~3% move to the upside despite the disappointing earnings announcement. Although ESPN makes up a disproportionate amount of the company’s revenue and income, all of its other franchises are posting robust growth hence Disney will be relying less on its ESPN franchise over the coming years. Disney’s perpetual stock slump and the roller coaster ride over the last two years has almost entirely been attributable to the decrease in ESPN subscribers and subsequent revenue slowdown at its Media Networks division. Continue reading "Disney's Pivot - Future Autonomy and Growth"