ESPN Plus streaming service announced for Apple devices

ESPN Plus streaming service announced for Apple devices

ESPN Plus streaming service announced for Apple devices

Besides an update on the $52.4 billion deal for much of Fox, analysts on a conference call with CEO Bob Iger scheduled for later Monday will look for intelligence on ESPN, given declining National Football League ratings and falling subscribers at the juggernaut sports cable network.

Walt Disney shares closed 1.40% higher at $106.17, in the US Tuesday. Disney's free cash flow will plummet some $4 billion between its 2018 and 2019 fiscal years, reckon Bernstein analysts - an nearly 30 percent decline. It has agreed to pay $52bn to buy film, TV and global assets from Rupert Murdoch's Twenty-First Century Fox. But ESPN lost more viewers on top of the previous quarter's 3 percent decline - and advertising revenue fell 11 percent year-over-year.

Steven Cahall, an analyst at RBC Capital Markets, said: "We see good momentum in Disney's results that support a long-term rerating story around streaming/direct to consumer". Iger's decision to pull the company's programs from Netflix by the end of this year also means it'll forfeit licensing revenue.

The company also announced it was expanding its "Star Wars" universe, hiring the creators of HBO hit "Game of Thrones", David Benioff and D.B. Weiss, to write and produce a new series of films set in the galaxy far, far away.

For its first fiscal quarter, which ended on December 30, Disney had net income of $4.42 billion, or $2.91 a share, compared with $2.48 billion, or $1.55 a share, a year earlier.

With so many big-name studios and franchises under its belt, Iger said Disney can spend less on quantity and worry more about branding.

Disney unveiled its first quarter 2018 results on Tuesday, revealing declines from ESPN and ABC that were offset partially by the big business Star Wars: The Last Jedi has done at the box office.

"After these discussions, I'm even more enthusiastic about the businesses we're acquiring and the management teams that are leading them".

Studio entertainment Q4 revenues slipped 1% to $2.504 billion. Analysts' outlook called for revenue of $6.35 billion in this category.

The Disney chief said the service would cost $4.99 a month, confirming that Disney intends to launch its own separate streaming service for non-sports programming next year in order to keep its market share in the face of competition from Amazon and Netflix.

Iger's overriding theme was that the future is all about Disney's direct-to-consumer products, and creating content on the film and TV side to feed those channels.

Disney and 21st Century Fox made waves previous year with their landmark deal, and now Disney's CEO has given fans an update.

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