Walt Disney Co. Tuesday reported a quarterly loss of nearly $ 5 billion as a result of a pandemic that virtually paralyzed the theme parks, live productions, and cruise lines.
reported a tax loss for the third quarter of $ 4.72 billion, or $ 2.61 per share, compared to a net profit of 79 cents per share in the year-ago quarter. The loss was largely due to a $ 4.95 billion suit brought by Disney over the pandemic and changing media habits worldwide. The company said the impairment was “reflecting the impact of COVID-19 and the continued shift of film and television distribution from linear channel licensing to a direct-to-consumer business model on the International Channel companies.”
After adjusting for those costs and other factors, Disney reported net income of 8 cents per share, compared to $ 1.34 a year ago. Revenue was down 42% to $ 11.78 billion, from a record $ 20.25 billion a year ago. Analysts surveyed by FactSet had expected an adjusted loss of 64 cents per share on revenue of $ 12.4 billion.
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Disney shares initially fell 2% in after-hours trading, but then moved on to a 1% gain. Disney shares have fallen by 19% this year. The wider S&P 500 index SPX,
is up 2% in 2020.
Theme park sales plummeted from $ 9.58 billion a year ago to $ 983 million; analysts expected an average of $ 1.05 billion. Disney’s TV company reported revenues of $ 6.56 billion, down $ 6.71 billion a year ago, but higher than the analyst average estimate of $ 6.28 billion. The film industry fell from $ 1.74 billion a year ago to $ 1.74 billion, while analysts expected $ 1.67 billion.
A lone bright spot was Disney +, which launched in mid-November and now has 57.5 million subscribers. The direct-to-consumer and international division, including Disney +, was the only Disney segment to grow last year and reported sales of $ 3.97 billion after a record turnover of $ 3.86 billion a year ago. Analysts had expected $ 4.65 billion according to FactSet.
“Despite the ongoing challenges of the pandemic, we have continued to build on the incredible success of Disney + as we grow our global direct-to-consumer businesses,” said Disney Chief Executive Bob Chapek in a statement announcing the results.
Disney + ‘s success – largely supported by original content, led by the wildly popular “Hamilton” – comes amid fierce competition with Netflix Inc. NFLX,
, Apple Inc. AAPL,
, Amazon.com Inc. AMZN,
, and new streaming participants of AT&T Inc. T,
and Comcast Corp. CMCSA,
There could be more help on the way from Disney’s ESPN and ABC, who missed the NBA finals during the quarter, but started broadcasting new NBA action last week. The restart of Major League Baseball on July 23 set record records on ESPN, although the sport was clouded by a COVID-19 outbreak among the Miami Marlins and St. Louis Cardinals, which led to a series of delayed games.