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Disney Trading at Five-Year High

Posted on Wednesday, Jun 4th 2014

PwC’s report on Global Entertainment and Media projects entertainment and media (E&M) services market to grow to $2.2 trillion by 2017 – translating to a 5.6% annual growth over the five years from 2012 through 2017. PwC projects the digital segment of the market to be the big driver with digital revenues growing 12% annually and accounting for 47% of the market share compared with 35% in 2012.

Disney’s Financials
Walt Disney’s (NYSE: DIS) second quarter revenues grew 10% over the year to $11.65 billion, ahead of the Street’s projections of $11.25 billion. EPS for the quarter grew 41% to $1.11, significantly ahead of the market’s projections of $0.92.

By segment, Disney’s media networks revenues grew 4% to $5.13 billion and revenues from parks and resorts increased 8% to $3.56 billion. Studio entertainment revenues increased 35% over the year to $1.80 billion driven by the continued strong reception for their animated movie Frozen. Frozen was the world’s highest grossing animated film of all time and their soundtrack has been the leading album in the US. The movie is headed to Broadway as well and has also helped growth in other Disney segments. Analysts expect the movie to help generate revenues of $500 million to $1 billion next year. The demand for Frozen merchandise has been high, which partly led to the 16% growth in Consumer product revenues to $0.89 billion. Interactive business grew 38% to $0.27 billion.

Disney’s Content Growth
Disney continued to grow their content and last quarter announced the acquisition of Maker Studios, a leading YouTube multi-channel network, for an estimated $950 million. The terms of the deal include $500 million cash payout and the remaining is to be paid on achieving certain milestones.

Culver City-based Maker Studios was founded in 2009 and provides end-to-end video streaming services including partner development, production, promotion, distribution, sales, and marketing services. Their YouTube videos include popular channels such as KassemG, The Game Station, and Shaytards. Their channels have amassed a following of more than 380 million subscribers and more than 5.5 billion monthly video views across 55,000 channels.

Prior to the acquisition, Maker Studios had received $66 million in venture funding from investors including Time Warner Investments, Upfront Ventures, Greycroft Partners, Ynon Kreiz, Downey Ventures, Elisabeth Murdoch, Fuel: M+C, Jimmy Yaffe, Daher Capital, and Jon Landau. Disney plans to leverage Maker Studios’s advanced technology and strength within the short-form online videos segment to grow their content, especially for the younger audience.

While Disney may have struck it big with the acquisition of Maker, they lost out on the acquisition of Buzzfeed. Recent news reports suggest that Disney failed to meet Buzzfeed’s demands of a $1 billion merger and the talks fell through. Analysts believe that Disney probably gave up the deal because Buzzfeed was not the ideal fit for Disney, which focuses on acquiring intellectual property to be able to further monetize them. Buzzfeed, on the other hand, is a content discovery platform providing lists, recommendation, and reports.

But the market is pleased with Disney and their stock is trading at five-year high levels of $84.01 with a market capitalization of $145.5 billion.

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