Streaming subscriptions bolster strong earnings for Burbank-based Disney
Powered in part by a surge in subscriptions to its Disney+ streaming service, the Burbank-based Walt Disney Co. posted strong first-quarter earnings Wednesday, reporting revenue of $21.8 billion.
The figure was up 34% from the same quarter the previous year, when revenues were $16.2 billion. The first-quarter revenue translated to adjusted earnings per share of $1.06.
“We’ve had a very strong start to the fiscal year, with a significant rise in earnings per share, record revenue and operating income at our domestic parks and resorts, the launch of a new franchise with ‘Encanto,’ and a significant increase in total subscriptions across our streaming portfolio to 196.4 million, including 11.8 million Disney+ subscribers added in the first quarter,” Disney CEO Bob Chapek said in a statement.
“This marks the final year of The Walt Disney Company’s first century, and performance like this coupled with our unmatched collection of assets and platforms, creative capabilities, and unique place in the culture give me great confidence we will continue to define entertainment for the next 100 years.”
The addition of nearly 12 million Disney+ subscribers in the first quarter that ended Jan. 1 gave the streaming service a total of 129.8 million globally.
Disney reported a 34% increase in revenue for its direct-to-consumer business, compared to the same quarter last year. But the segment’s operated loss increased by 27%, reaching $600 million. The company attributed the operating loss primarily to higher programming, production, marketing and technology costs at Disney+.
Disney also reported strong year-over-year gains in revenue from its Parks, Experiences and Products segment, most notably since the Disneyland resort was closed during the prior-year first quarter due to COVID-19, and Walt Disney World in Florida was operating at limited capacity.
The company noted that its parks are “generally operating without significant mandatory COVID-19-related capacity restrictions,” but it is continuing to “manage capacity to address ongoing COVID-19 considerations with respect to guest and cast health and safety.”
Disney’s film and TV productions are also mostly back on track, “although we have seen disruptions of production activities depending on local circumstances.”