Disney continues to exceed all expectations in the streaming space accelerated by the stay-at-home COVID-19 environment. The Walt Disney Company (DIS) has been posting phenomenal streaming numbers that have thus far negated the COVID-19 impact on its other business segments, specifically its theme parks. Disney has had to shutter all its worldwide Parks and Resorts, and ESPN has been hit with the cancellation of virtually all sports worldwide. There’s been ebbs and flows with reopening efforts across the globe with mixed results followed by rolling lockdown measures. Despite the COVID-19 headwinds, Disney’s streaming initiatives have been major growth catalysts for the company. Disney+’ growth in its subscriber base has shifted the conversation from COVID-19 impact on its theme parks to a durable and sustainable recurring revenue model. This streaming bright spot, in conjunction with the optimism of its Park and Resorts coming back online, has been a perfect combination as of late. Disney+ has racked up 73.7 million paid subscribers, Hulu has 36.6 million paid subscribers, and ESPN+ has 10.3 million paid subscribers. Disney now has over 120 million paid streaming subscribers across its platforms. Disney+ has been wildly successful via unleashing all of its content (Marvel, Star Wars, Disney, and Pixar) in what has become a formidable competitor in the ever-expanding streaming wars domestically and internationally. Hence the tug-of-war on Wall Street between COVID-19 impacts versus the success of its streaming initiatives, with the latter winning out. Thus far, its streaming success has changed the narrative as its stock is approaching highs not seen since February. Disney is a compelling buy for long-term investors as its legacy business segments get back on track in 2021 in conjunction with these successful streaming initiatives.
Seeing Though COVID-19
Disney’s business segments will inevitably come back online as COVID-19 subsides worldwide, and widespread vaccination programs are rolled out. Disney’s theme parks will reopen over time, as seen with phased reopening efforts. Inevitably, movie productions will resume, movie theaters and theme parks will reopen to full capacity, and sports will return to pre-COVID formats. The resumption of all of these activities will feed into Disney’s legacy businesses in conjunction with its streaming successes. Disney continues to dominate the box office year after year with a long pipeline of blockbusters in the queue. Its Parks and Resorts continue to be a growth avenue with tremendous pricing power outside regardless of COVID-19. Disney is going all-in on the streaming front and acquired full ownership of Hulu. The company has launched its Disney branded streaming service with tremendous success with kudos from Netflix’s (NFLX) CEO Reed Hastings himself. I feel that the company offers a compelling long-term investment opportunity given its growth catalysts that will continue to bear fruit over the coming years despite the current headwinds. Continue reading "Disney Becoming A Streaming Juggernaut"