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Better than expected results in Disney's latest earnings report

The Cinderella Castle is seen at the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World, July 14, 2023, in Lake Buena Vista, Fla.
The Cinderella Castle is seen at the Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World, July 14, 2023, in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. Copyright John Raoux/Copyright 2023 The AP. All rights reserved
Copyright John Raoux/Copyright 2023 The AP. All rights reserved
By Doloresz Katanich with AP
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The 100-year-old company is promising to deliver - Disney has just released its latest earnings report.

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Better than-expected numbers and strong promises cheered up investors after Walt Disney Co. released its earnings report for the three months as well as for its fiscal year, both ending on 30 September.

Disney's net income jumped by 63% to $264 million (€247 million) in the last quarter, up from $162 million a year earlier. However, for the whole fiscal year, the net income shrank, from $3,145 million in 2022 to $2,354 million this year - a reminder that the company is going through difficulties as it is grappling with losses in the traditional movie business.

We’re on track to achieve roughly $7.5 billion in cost reductions.
Bob Iger
CEO, Walt Disney Company

In the quarter ending in September, its revenue grew by 5% to $21,241 million (€19,867 million) by yearly comparison and increased by 7% to $88,898 million during the whole fiscal year.

Its adjusted earnings per share for the quarter more than doubled to 82 cents, more than what industry analysts had been expecting. The company plans to ask its board to reinstate a dividend payment to shareholders by the end of 2023, interim Chief Financial Officer, Kevin Lansberry, said via Reuters.

The company credited cost-cutting and other efficiencies from restructuring as well as continued subscription growth in its streaming business. It also noted a 30% increase in operating income from its parks and similar “experiences” compared to the prior year.

Narrowing losses at the streaming service

However, Disney's streaming platform is still producing operating losses, the amount shrank to $420 million, less than a third of what it was a year ago. Disney+ added nearly 7 million core subscribers in the fourth quarter as well as key streaming content, including Elemental, Little Mermaid, and Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3. 

The entertainment giant expects to reach profitability in a year regarding its combined streaming services including Disney+, Disney+ Hotstar, and Hulu. Disney is also looking for ways to begin delivering more sports events via the sports-focused ESPN's streaming platform.

The numbers were paired with announcing an expansion of the company's cost-cutting drive aiming to reduce expenses by $7.5 billion, about $2 billion more than earlier targeted. Disney also expects to grow free cash flow in fiscal 2024 significantly versus fiscal 2023.

“Our results this quarter reflect the significant progress we’ve made over the past year,” said returning CEO Bob Iger in a statement. “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.”

The results topped Wall Street expectations and sent shares in the entertainment and theme park company up more than 3% in after-hours trading on Wednesday.

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