Disney set to report earnings as industry eyes mega deal with Fox

Bob Iger chairman and CEO of the Walt Disney Company

ESPN has operated as a division of The Walt Disney Company since 1996. Revenue totaled $15.35 billion, a 4 percent increase. The apps will also be an opportunity for Disney to exploit all of the Fox content Disney acquires once its $52.4 billion purchase of Fox makes its way through the federal regulatory process.

The film studio saw a 1 percent drop in revenue and 2 percent fall in operating income, with part of the promel being lower home-entertainment unit sales of Cars 3 in the just-ended quarter compared with Finding Dory a year earlier.

Disney CEO Bob Iger spoke to investors on the Quarter 1 earnings call, where he addressed the acquisition of 20th Century Fox (among other properties), how the deal is progressing, and what the next steps are.

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".

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"The Netflix output deal expires with the '18 slate", Iger said.

With so many big-name studios and franchises under its belt, Iger said Disney can spend less on quantity and worry more about branding. To that end, Iger was asked why Game of Thrones creators David Benioff and D.B. Weiss had not been attached to a similar multi-season series.

Disney's Theme Parks revenue grew 13% y-o-y and operating income increased 21% y-o-y, driven by growth in both its domestic and global businesses.

There's a lot to look forward to for Disney moving forward as the company said it was launching a stand-alone streaming service in 2019, while also removing its movies from other streaming services. ESPN's ad revenue and cable subscriber numbers were both down in the quarter that ended in December.

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GBH Insights analyst Daniel Ives is out with a first glance at the entertainment giant's quarterly show, calling the performance "solid", even if revenue was a "mixed bag".

Media networks revenues for the quarter was flat at $6.2 billion and segment operating income decreased 12 percent to $1.2 billion.

The ESPN Plus service will be offered for $4.99 a month and will feature about 10,000 sporting events each year. Disney first announced the service back in August 2017, but few specifics about the platform have emerged since.

In addition to that one-time tax benefit and previously announced $1,000 employee bonuses, Iger told CNBC the new tax law will also free up more free cash flow for the company.

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