Disney shares fell more than 6% in after-hours trading after the company failed for the first time in two years to meet expectations for revenue and earnings.
The company’s $12.9 billion in revenue fell short of analysts’ consensus of $13.2 billion, while earnings of $1.30 also lagged behind the pre-report consensus of $1.39.
Disney’s stock dropped from more than $106 a share to under $100 after the report, because of the missed projection on earnings and continuing concern about subscription rates to the company’s sports cable network, ESPN. Shares recovered slightly, but remained down about 5%.
Revenue for the conglomerate’s cable networks dipped 2% to just over $3.9 billion. While the company’s broadcasting units saw revenue increase slightly, there was a decline of 8% in operating income, to $278 million. The company attributed the broadcasting decline to “lower operating income from program sales and higher programming and marketing costs, partially offset by advertising and affiliate revenue growth.”
The biggest gains were in Disney’s studio unit, with revenues up 22% to more than $2 billion on the strength of mega-releases, including “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” and “Zootopia.” The “Star Wars” sequel became the highest-grossing domestic film of all time in January, while “Zootopia” is the highest grosser this year, with more than $950 million in ticket sales worldwide as of May 8.
For the first time in memory, chairman and CEO Bob Iger did not lead off the post-earnings teleconference. Instead, Chief Financial Officer Christine McCarthy took the lead on the call, before Iger took over. He focused on the conglomerate’s success areas — its winning streak with movies and the anticipated June 16 opening of the Shanghai Disney Resort in China.
“We’re very pleased with our overall results in Q2, which marks our 11th consecutive quarter of double-digit growth in adjusted EPS,” Iger said in a statement. “Our studio’s unprecedented winning streak at the box office underscores the incredible appeal of our branded content, which we continue to leverage across the entire company to drive significant value.”
The call was also the first in recent years that did not include Tom Staggs. After being promoted to chief operating officer, the long-time Disney executive was pushed out last month as heir apparent to Iger.