Disney gains on plans to raise prices for streaming services; BofA positive on changes

August 9, 2023 4:44 PM EDT
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(Updated - August 10, 2023 6:23 AM EDT) -- Walt Disney reported mixed fiscal third-quarter results as revenue missed Wall Street estimates as momentum in its streaming business slowed, but the company detailed plans to hike prices for its streaming business to boost growth.

Walt Disney Company (NYSE: DIS) rose 1.6% in pre-market Thursday, cutting losses that followed immediately after the earnings report.

Disney reported adjusted EPS of $1.03, compared with Wall Street estimates of $0.99, while revenue of $22.33 billion missed estimates of $22.49 billion.

Disney's parks business saw revenue climb 13% to $8.33 billion in Q3 from the year-ago period.

Disney+ subscribers fell to 146.1 million, missing estimates of 151.1 million, pressured by a 24% fall in Disney+ Hotstar subscribers.

Disney said that it would be raising the prices of its streaming streaming services including Disney+ and Hulu, but will keep prices of its ad-supported tiers of streaming unchanged.

The price of the ad-free tier of Disney+ will increase to $13.99 from $10.99 starting Oct. 12, but the ad-supported Disney+ will remain at $7.99 The company also announced that it would expand its ad-supported offering in Europe and Canada starting Nov. 1.

Disney also said it would launch a new premium duo bundle on Sept. 6, for users who want ad-free tiers of both Disney+ and Hulu at $19.00 per month. The price for all three streaming products, or the "Trio Premium," including Disney+, Hulu, and the ad-supported tier ESPN+ will increase to $24.99 per month from $19.99 per month.

Citi analyst Jason Bazinet said the results were "in-line" with expectations. BofA analyst Jessica Reif Ehrlich is "confident in Bob Iger’s ability to navigate the company through this transition period," despite several strategic questions that still remain.

"DIS has a collection of best-in-class premiere assets (in content/IP as well as Theme Parks). Near term catalysts include: (1) additional updates on the strategic outlook (including potentially rationalizing the asset base) for DIS with a positive message likely at the Analyst event in September and (2) upside to initial cost saving plans," the analyst wrote.

Additional reporting by Senad Karaahmetovic

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