Disney (DIS) shares tumbled by 3.64% in after-hours trading after the company reported fiscal second quarter numbers that beat Wall Street estimates on earnings but missed projections on revenue and on subscribers to the company’s Disney+ streaming service.
Adjusted earnings per share were 79 cents versus a projected 32 cents a share. (For the second quarter of 2020 the company reported earnings of $1.53 a share.)
Revenue of $15.62 billion for the quarter was a bit shy of Wall Street projections of $15,85 billion.
The big miss came in subscription growth for the company’s paid streaming service. Disney+ topped 100 million subscribers for the first time–just 16 months after the late 2019 launch of the service. (Competitor and streaming leading Netflix had 208 million global subscribers at the end of its most recently reported quarter.)
The stock dropped on the news, however, since analysts had been looking for 110.3 million subscribers by the end of the quarter and Disney reported “just’ 103.6 million for the quarter.
I see this just-reported quarter as a transition for Disney. During the worst of the pandemic recession, the streaming service carried Disney as attendance at the theme parks collapsed in the face of outright closures and capacity reductions.
Some of that growth in Disney+, however, was pulled forward from future quarters as families looked to find entertainment in the safety of their own homes. That has led at Disney and competitor Netflix to a post-vaccine slowdown in subscriber growth. Netflix, for example, added only 3.98 million new paid subscribers in the first quarter, well below the 6.3 million projected by Wall Street. Given what we know from the Netflix result, the slowdown in growth at Disney+ seems to be roughly on trend for the post-vaccine economy.
This quarter didn’t yet show a big pick up in revenue from the theme parks. The California parks only reopened with reduced capacity at the end of April. The division posted a fourth straight operating loss–of $406 million against the $369 million loss expected by Wall Street.
I see revenue from the theme parks gradually climbing as the year progresses, although the company projects that this division won’t be back to “normal” until the end of the year.
I’d use the current weakness in Disney as an opportunity to pick up these shares for both the next 12-18 months and for the long-term.
Disney shares are a member of both my Jubak Picks and 50 Stocks Portfolios. In Jubak Picks the position s down 3.35% since I added it to the portfolio on March 31, 2021. In my long-term 50 Stocks Portfolio the position is up 34.80% since I added it on May 16, 2019.
Full disclosure: I own Call Options on Disney in my personal portfolios.