The Walt Disney Company (NYSE: DIS) today reported quarterly earnings for its third fiscal quarter ended June 30, 2018. Diluted earnings per share (EPS) for the quarter increased 29 percent to USD1.95 from USD 1.51 in the prior-year quarter. Excluding certain items affecting comparability, EPS for the quarter increased 18 percent to USD 1.87 from USD 1.58 in the prior-year quarter. EPS for the nine months ended June 30, 2018 increased to USD 6.81 from USD 4.55 in the prior-year period. Excluding certain items affecting comparability(1), EPS for the nine months increased 21% to USD 5.60 from USD 4.63 in the prior-year period.
“We’re pleased with our results in the quarter, including a double-digit increase in earnings per share, and excited about the opportunities ahead for continued growth,” said Robert A. Iger, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer, The Walt Disney Company. “Having earned the overwhelming support of shareholders, we are more enthusiastic about the 21st Century Fox acquisition than ever, and confident in our ability to fully leverage these assets along with our own incredible brands, franchises and businesses to drive significant value across the entire company.”
Media Networks revenues for the quarter increased 5 percent to USD 6.2 billion and segment operating income was comparable to the prior-year quarter at USD 1.8 billion.
Cable networks revenues for the quarter increased 2 percent to USD 4.2 billion and operating income decreased 5 percent to USD 1.4 billion. Lower operating income was due to a loss at BAMTech and a decrease at Freeform, partially offset by an increase at ESPN.
In the current quarter, BAMTech’s operating loss is reported in Cable Networks as a result of our acquisition of a controlling interest in the fourth quarter of fiscal 2017. In the prior-year quarter, the Company’s share of BAMTech results was reported in equity in the income of investees. The loss at BAMTech reflects higher content and marketing costs and ongoing investments in their technology platform including costs associated with ESPN+, which was launched in April 2018.
The decline at Freeform was primarily due to lower advertising revenue and higher marketing costs, partially offset by lower programming costs. The decrease in advertising revenue was due to lower impressions from a decline in average viewership.
The increase at ESPN was due to affiliate revenue growth and the comparison to severance and contract termination costs incurred in the prior-year quarter, partially offset by higher programming costs and a decrease in advertising revenue. Affiliate revenue growth reflected contractual rate increases, partially offset by a decline in subscribers. The programming cost increase was primarily due to a contractual rate increase for NBA programming. Lower advertising revenue was due to a decrease in impressions from lower average viewership, partially offset by higher rates. Advertising revenue was adversely impacted by one less NBA final game.
Broadcasting revenues for the quarter increased 11 percent to USD 2.0 billion and operating income increased 43 percent to USD 361 million. The increase in operating income was due to higher program sales, affiliate revenue growth and increased network advertising revenue, partially offset by higher programming costs.
The increase in program sales was driven by higher sales of Designated Survivor, How to Get Away with Murder and Grey’s Anatomy, partially offset by lower sales of Quantico. Additionally, the current quarter included the sale of Luke Cage compared to the sale of The Defenders in the prior-year quarter. Affiliate revenue growth was due to contractual rate increases. The increase in network advertising revenue was due to higher rates, partially offset by lower average viewership. The programming costs increase was driven by higher cost primetime programming, including the impact of American Idol and Roseanne in the current quarter.
Equity in the Income of Investees
Equity in the income of investees decreased from USD 127 million in the prior-year quarter to USD 78 million in the current quarter due to higher losses from Hulu and lower income from A+E Television Networks (A+E). These decreases were partially offset by the absence of a loss from BAMTech, which is now consolidated and reported in Cable Networks. The decrease at Hulu was driven by higher programming and labor costs, partially offset by growth in subscription and advertising revenue. The decrease at A+E was due to lower advertising revenue and higher programming costs, partially offset by higher program sales.
Parks and Resorts
Parks and Resorts revenues for the quarter increased 6 percent to USD 5.2 billion and segment operating income increased 15 percent to USD 1.3 billion. Operating income growth for the quarter was due to increases across key operations. Results include an unfavorable impact due to the timing of the Easter holiday relative to our fiscal periods. One week of the Easter holiday fell in the third quarter of the current year whereas both holiday weeks fell in the third quarter of the prior year.
Higher operating income at our domestic parks and resorts was due to increased guest spending, partially offset by increased costs. Guest spending growth was due to increases in average ticket prices, food, beverage, and merchandise spending and average daily hotel room rates. The increase in costs was due to labor and other cost inflation, partially offset by lower marketing costs. At our cruise line, growth was driven by higher passenger cruise days, which was primarily due to the Disney Fantasy dry-dock in the prior-year quarter.
The increased operating income at our international parks and resorts was due to growth at Shanghai Disney Resort and Hong Kong Disneyland Resort. Higher operating income at Shanghai Disney Resort was due to lower costs and attendance growth, partially offset by decreased guest spending. The decrease in guest spending was driven by lower average ticket prices, partially offset by higher food and beverage spending. At Hong Kong Disneyland Resort, the increase in operating income was primarily due to higher occupied room nights, average ticket prices and attendance.
Studio Entertainment revenues for the quarter increased 20 percent to USD 2.9 billion and segment operating income increased 11 percent to USD 708 million. Operating income growth was due to increases in domestic theatrical and worldwide TV/SVOD distribution results, partially offset by film cost impairments related to animated films that will not be released and lower domestic home entertainment results.
The increase in domestic theatrical distribution results was due to the success of Avengers: Infinity War and Incredibles 2 in the current quarter compared to Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2 and Cars 3 in the prior-year quarter, partially offset by higher pre-release marketing costs. Additionally, the current quarter included the continuing performance of Black Panther and the release of Solo: A Star Wars Story, whereas the prior-year quarter included the continuing performance of Beauty and the Beast and the release of Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Men Tell No Tales.
Higher TV/SVOD distribution results were due to the timing of title availabilities at our domestic pay and free television businesses, international growth, and higher domestic pay television rates.
Lower domestic home entertainment results were due to a decrease in unit sales driven by the timing of the release of Star Wars titles. The DVD/Blu-ray release of Star Wars: The Last Jedi was in the second quarter of the current year whereas the DVD/Blu-ray release of Rogue One: A Star Wars Story occurred in the prior-year third quarter. Other significant titles included Black Panther in the current quarter, while the prior-year quarter included Beauty and the Beast and Moana.
Consumer Products and Interactive Media
Consumer products and interactive media revenues decreased 8 percent to USD 1.0 billion and segment operating income decreased 10 percent to USD 324 million. The decrease in operating income was due to lower income from licensing activities and decreased comparable retail store sales, partially offset by lower costs at our games business.
The decrease in income from licensing activities was driven by lower revenue from products based on Spider-Man and Cars, partially offset by an increase from products based on Avengers.
Other Financial Information
Corporate and Unallocated Shared Expenses
Corporate and unallocated shared expenses increased USD 97 million to USD 196 million in the current quarter primarily due to costs incurred in connection with our agreement to acquire Twenty-First Century Fox, Inc., higher compensation costs, and the timing of allocations to operating segments.
Other Income/(Expense), Net
Other expense in the prior-year quarter consisted of a charge, net of committed insurance recoveries, incurred in connection with the settlement of litigation.
Interest Expense, Net
The increase in interest expense was due to higher average interest rates and an increase in average debt balances.
The increase in interest and investment income was driven by net investment income in the current quarter compared to net investment losses in the prior-year quarter.
The decrease in the effective income tax rate for the quarter was due to a net favorable impact of the Tax Act, which reflects the following:
- The increase in net income attributable to noncontrolling interests was due to higher results at ESPN and Shanghai Disney Resort. Results at ESPN included the benefit of lower tax expense, largely due to the Tax Act
- Net income attributable to noncontrolling interests is determined on income after royalties and management fees, financing costs, and income taxes, as applicable
- A reduction in the Company’s fiscal 2018 U.S. statutory federal income tax rate to 24.5 percent from 35.0 percent in the prior year. Net of state tax and other related effects, the reduction in the statutory rate had an impact of approximately 8.6 percentage points on the effective income tax rate
- A net benefit of approximately USD 110 million from updating our prior quarter estimates of the remeasurement of our net federal deferred tax liability to the new statutory rates (deferred remeasurement) and a one-time tax on certain accumulated foreign earnings (deemed repatriation tax). This update reflected the impact from finalizing our fiscal 2017 income tax return. This benefit had an impact of approximately 2.9 percentage points on the effective income tax rate
Cash provided by operations increased by USD 1.7 billion from USD 8.8 billion in the prior-year nine months to USD 10.4 billion in the current nine months. The increase was driven by a decrease in income tax payments due to the tax act, lower pension plan contributions and higher operating results at our parks and resorts segment, partially offset by higher film and television production spending.
Capital Expenditures and Depreciation Expense
Capital expenditures increased by USD 536 million to USD 3.3 billion due to higher spending on new attractions at our domestic parks and resorts and on technology at BAMTech, partially offset by lower spending at Hong Kong Disneyland Resort and Shanghai Disney Resort.
Non-GAAP Financial Measures
This earnings release presents EPS excluding the impact of certain items affecting comparability, free cash flow and aggregate segment operating income, all of which are important financial measures for the Company, but are not financial measures defined by GAAP.
These measures should be reviewed in conjunction with the relevant GAAP financial measures and are not presented as alternative measures of EPS, cash flow, or net income as determined in accordance with GAAP. EPS excluding certain items affecting comparability, free cash flow, and aggregate segment operating income as we have calculated them may not be comparable to similarly titled measures reported by other companies.
EPS excluding certain items affecting comparability. The company uses EPS excluding certain items to evaluate the performance of the company’s operations exclusive of certain items affecting comparability of results from period to period. The company believes that information about EPS exclusive of these items is useful to investors, particularly where the impact of the excluded items is significant in relation to reported earnings, because the measure allows for comparability between periods of the operating performance of the company’s business and allows investors to evaluate the impact of these items separately from the impact of the operations of the business.
Free cash flow. The company uses free cash flow (cash provided by operations less investments in parks, resorts, and other property), among other measures, to evaluate the ability of its operations to generate cash that is available for purposes other than capital expenditures. Management believes that information about free cash flow provides investors with an important perspective on the cash available to service debt obligations, make strategic acquisitions and investments, and pay dividends or repurchase shares.
Aggregate segment operating income. The company evaluates the performance of its operating segments based on segment operating income, and management uses aggregate segment operating income as a measure of the performance of operating businesses separate from non-operating factors. The company believes that information about aggregate segment operating income assists investors by allowing them to evaluate changes in the operating results of the company’s portfolio of businesses separate from non-operational factors that affect net income, thus providing separate insight into both operations and the other factors that affect reported results.
Management believes certain statements in this earnings release may constitute forward-looking statements within the meaning of the Private Securities Litigation Reform Act of 1995. These statements are made on the basis of management’s views and assumptions regarding future events and business performance as of the time the statements are made. Management does not undertake any obligation to update these statements.
Actual results may differ materially from those expressed or implied. Such differences may result from actions taken by the company, including restructuring or strategic initiatives (including capital investments or asset acquisitions or dispositions), as well as from developments beyond the company’s control, including:
- changes in domestic and global economic conditions, competitive conditions, and consumer preferences;
- adverse weather conditions or natural disasters;
- health concerns;
- international, political, or military developments; and
- technological developments.
Such developments may affect entertainment, travel, and leisure businesses generally and may, among other things, affect:
- the performance of the company’s theatrical and home entertainment releases;
- the advertising market for broadcast and cable television programming;
- demand for our products and services;
- expenses of providing medical and pension benefits;
- income tax expense;
- performance of some or all company businesses either directly or through their impact on those who distribute our products; and
- the pending transaction with 21CF.
Additional factors are set forth in the company’s annual report on form 10-K for the year ended September 30, 2017 under Item 1A, Risk Factors, in the company’s report on form 10-Q for the quarter ended December 30, 2017 under Item 1A, Risk Factors, and subsequent reports.-BCS Bureau