Revenues at The Walt Disney Company in Q1 2019 were up 36 percent as the conglomerate delivered gains across all of its segments, including direct-to-consumer, with Disney+ ending 2019 with 26.5 million paid subs.
“We had a strong first quarter, highlighted by the launch of Disney+, which has exceeded even our greatest expectations,” said Robert A. Iger, chairman and CEO at The Walt Disney Company. “Thanks to our incredible collection of brands, outstanding content from our creative engines and state-of-the-art technology, we believe our direct-to-consumer services, including Disney+, ESPN+ and Hulu, position us well for continued growth in today’s dynamic media environment.”
Total revenues rose to $20.9 billion, while net profit fell by 23 percent to $2.1 billion.
The media networks segment delivered revenues of $7.4 billion, a 24-percent boost. This included $4.8 billion from the cable networks, a 20-percent gain thanks to the consolidation of the 21st Century Fox networks, namely FX and National Geographic, partially offset by a decrease at ESPN. Broadcasting revenues were up 34 percent to $2.6 billion, again lifted by acquired 21st Century Fox assets (notably program sales), which helped to offset decreases in ad revenues and ABC Studios program sales. Operating income at the media networks rose by 23 percent to $1.6 billion.
Studio entertainment revenues more than doubled to $3.8 billion, delivering an operating income of $948 million. The segment benefited from increases in theatrical (Frozen II, Star Wars: The Rise of Skywalker) and TV/SVOD distribution results (sales of content to Disney+), partially offset by a loss from the consolidation of the 21st Century Fox businesses.
Direct-to-consumer and international revenues soared to $4 billion but the segment’s loss widened to $693 million due to costs associated with the launch of Disney+, the consolidation of Hulu and a higher loss at ESPN+, partially offset by the inclusion of the 21st Century Fox businesses, namely Star in India. As of the end of the year, the segment counted 26.5 million subs at Disney+, 6.6 million at ESPN+ and 30.4 million at Hulu (27.2 million for SVOD only, 3.2 million for live TV and SVOD).
Revenues from parks, experiences and products rose by 8 percent to $7.4 billion.