Disney posts solid 1Q results thanks to its theme parks and cost cuts

Disney has reported stronger-than-expected earnings in the final three months of 2023.

ByBARBARA ORTUTAY AP Technology Writer AP logo
Wednesday, February 7, 2024
ABC7 Eyewitness News
ABC7 Eyewitness NewsStream Southern California's News Leader and Original Shows 24/7

SAN FRANCISCO -- The Walt Disney Co. on Wednesday posted stronger-than-expected earnings for the final three months of 2023, boosted by cost cuts and growing revenue from its theme parks business.

Disney earned $1.91 billion, or $1.04 per share, in its fiscal first quarter. That's up 49% from $1.28 billion, or 70 cents per share, in the same period a year earlier. Excluding one-time accounting items, the company earned $1.22 per share in the latest quarter.

MORE: 'Taylor Swift | The Eras Tour (Taylor's Version)' will stream exclusively on Disney+

Revenue was $23.55 billion, roughly the same as last year's $23.51 billion.

Analysts, on average, were expecting earnings of 99 cents per share on revenue of $23.7 billion, according to a poll by FactSet.

Disney said it is making "significant cost reductions" and reduced its selling, general and other operations expenses by $500 million in the latest quarter. The company cut thousands of jobs in 2023.

MORE: Disney to make $1.5B investment in Epic Games, best known for Fortnite

The quarter's results will strengthen Disney CEO Bob Iger's hand as he tries to guide the company to streaming profitability, said Insider Intelligence analyst Paul Verna. He added that Disney's goal of making its streaming business profitable by the end of the year "bodes well for Disney's stock to break out of a years-long slump, and for Iger's ability to fend off pressure from activist investors who are looking to reshuffle the board and influence succession planning."

Disney said it lost 1.3 million core subscribers to its Disney+ streaming service during the quarter, but it made more money from each subscriber due to price hikes for the service. It expects to add up to 6 million subscribers in the current quarter.

The company based in Burbank, California, said its theme parks business saw record revenue and operating income during the quarter.

MORE: 'Moana 2' is coming to theaters for a Thanksgiving release

"Our strong performance this past quarter demonstrates we have turned the corner and entered a new era for our company, focused on fortifying ESPN for the future, building streaming into a profitable growth business, reinvigorating our film studios, and turbocharging growth in our parks and experiences," Iger said in a statement.

Disney also announced it is paying $1.5 billion for a stake in "Fortnite" maker Epic Games, working with the game developer to create a "games and entertainment universe" that will feature games, shows and characters from Disney, Pixar, Marvel, Star Wars, Avatar and more.

"This marks Disney's biggest entry ever into the world of games and offers significant opportunities for growth and expansion," Iger said.

Shares of Disney jumped 7% in extended trading after the results came out.

Disney is the parent company of this station.