Disney+ Streaming Growth, Park Revenue Increase Shares

Feb 9 (Reuters) – Walt Disney Co reported better-than-expected first-quarter revenue on Wednesday, buoyed by a steady recovery at its domestic theme parks during the holiday season and strong revenue growth streaming subscribers.

Speaking on CNBC on Wednesday, Disney Chief Executive Bob Chapek reaffirmed the Disney+ subscriber target of 230 million to 260 million by 2024. The company added 11.8 million Disney+ subscribers in the first trimester.

The company’s overall revenue rose 34% to $21.82 billion in the quarter ended Jan. 1, beating analysts’ estimate of $20.91 billion, according to Refinitiv data. .

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Disney+, the company’s two-year-old streaming service, kept the business afloat when the pandemic disrupted its former theme parks, resorts and cruise operations.

Now, the easing of government restrictions and pent-up demand have led to strong attendance at national theme parks as Omicron’s fears fade.

Shares of the entertainment company rose 8% in extended trading.

Excluding items, Disney earned $1.06 a share, beating Wall Street’s estimate of 63 cents.

“This marks the final year of The Walt Disney Company’s first century, and performances like this, coupled with our unrivaled collection of assets and platforms, creative abilities and unique place in culture, give me great confidence that we will continue to define entertainment for the next 100 years,” Chapek said.

Revenue from the parks, experiences and products segment more than doubled to $7.23 billion in the first quarter.

Meanwhile, the segment’s operating profit was $2.45 billion, compared to an operating loss of $119 million a year ago.

Disney+ subscribers stood at 129.8 million at the end of the first quarter, compared to 129.2 million for Factset.

Investors are watching the streaming service’s growth trajectory for its ability to meet fiscal 2024 goals. Disney+ subscribers by the end of fiscal year 2024.

Disney has invested billions in creating new programming to grab a slice of the online video market dominated by Netflix Inc, betting its future on a direct-to-consumer strategy.

During the first quarter, Disney+ released the first episode of “The Book of Boba Fett,” about the Star Wars bounty hunter; Documentary series “The Beatles: Get Back” by filmmaker Peter Jackson, and “Hawkeye”, about the Marvel superhero.

Disney announced in November that it would offer a bundle of its three streaming services, Disney+, Hulu, and ESPN+, for $13.99 per month.

In January, Netflix forecast weak subscriber growth in the first quarter, which sent shares tumbling nearly 20% and wiping out most of its remaining pandemic-fueled gains from 2020. read more

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Reporting by Eva Mathews in Bengaluru and Helen Coster in New York; Editing by Anil D’Silva and Lisa Shumaker

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