Continued gains in its streaming-service business helped power the Burbank-based Walt Disney Co. to better-than-expected fourth-quarter earnings Wednesday.
The entertainment giant reported quarterly earnings per share of 82 cents, up from 30 cents in the same quarter the prior year, along with total revenue of $21.2 billion, up 5% from $20.15 billion in last year’s fourth quarter.
The company noted strong operations in its theme park and cruise business, and reported the addition of nearly 7 million Disney+ streaming service subscribers, powered in part by additions of streaming titles such as “Elemental,” “Little Mermaid” and “Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3,” as well as the original series “Ahsoka” and “Moving.”
Disney also announced an increase in its operational cost-cutting goal from the original $5.5 billion to $7.5 billion and it works to “aggressively manage our cost base.”
“Our results this quarter reflect the significant progress we’ve made over the past year,” Disney CEO Bob Iger said in a statement. “While we still have work to do, these efforts have allowed us to move beyond this period of fixing and begin building our businesses again. We have a solid foundation of creative excellence and innovation built over the past century, which has only been reinforced by the important restructuring and cost efficiency work we’ve done this year, and we’re on track to achieve roughly $7.5 billion in cost reductions. Combined with our portfolio of valuable businesses, brands and assets — and the way we manage them together — Disney has a strong hand that differentiates us from others in our industry.
“As we look forward, there are four key building opportunities that will be central to our success: achieving significant and sustained profitability in our streaming business, building ESPN into the preeminent digital sports platform, improving the output and economics of our film studios, and turbocharging growth in our parks and experiences business. We have already made considerable advancements in these four areas and will continue to move forward with a sense of purpose and urgency, and I’m bullish about the opportunities we have before us to create lasting growth and increase shareholder value.”