IBC365 recounts the standout company results in the media and broadcast industry.

Earnings review

Earnings review: May

D2C boosts Disney during tough financial quarter 
Walt Disney Company has reported mixed results in its latest financial figures, with total operating income of $2.42 billion in Q2, down 37% from $3.82 billion the previous year. 

The decline, however, was mainly from the company’s Parks, Experiences and Products business, which has been hit badly by the Covid-19 lockdown. This includes Disney’s theme parks and related businesses across the globe. 

The entertainment side of the business actually saw significant growth. Disney Media Networks, which includes broadcasters such as Fox, ESPN and ABC, saw 28% growth in the quarter to $7.26 billion revenue. 

The company’s studio entertainment segment achieved 18% revenue growth to $5.54 billion, despite the fact that most productions have been halted during lockdown. 

A bright spot for the Mouse House was its direct to consumer arm, which was boosted by the launch of Disney+ in Europe. Revenue for the division, which includes internation D2C, doubled year on year to $4.12 billion. 

In the results, Disney reported that as of March 28, it had 33.5 million paid subscribers to its new streaming service, Disney+. By early April, the company said it had surpassed 50 million paid subscribers, with subscribers driven to the platform due to an increased demand for content during lockdown. 

ITV ad revenues hit by coronavirus 
UK broadcaster ITV has revealed that advertising revenue plummeted by 42% in April, as companies scaled back ad-spend of fears of a coronavirus-led recession. 

The broadcaster reported an 8% year-on-year increase in advertising income in February, before the spread of coronavirus had a major impact on the UK economy. But ad spend flatlined in March, with ITV opting to furlough staff. 

Total external revenue was down 7% at £694m (2019: £743m) with ITV Studios – shut down due to the pandemic – bearing a significant brunt of the damage. ITV Studios revenue dropped 11% year on year. 

However broadcast revenue did rise at the company, up 2% at £500m (2019: £489m) with ITV total advertising up 2% as originally guided, and online revenues up 26%. 

ITV said total viewing hours were up 2% in the year to the end of March, while it also saw an increase in use of its OTT services, with viewing of shows on the streaming service ITV Hub up 75% year on year, to 169m hours. 

AT&T continues to shed subs ahead of HBO Max launch 
AT&T will be hoping the upcoming launch of HBO Max can bring in customers as it continues to see its TV subscriber numbers dwindle. 

The US telco – which owns media assets such as HBO through its acquisition of WarnerMedia, and DirecTV - lost a little under 900,000 TV subscribers in Q1 2020. 

This was made up of 897,000 premium TV subscribers from DirecTV, U-Verse, and AT&T TV. 

WarnerMedia bore the brunt of losses, with revenue down from US$8.4 billion to US$7.4 billion year-over-year, which AT&T largely blamed on the cancellation of premium sport services due to the coronavirus. 

Overall net income increased by 11.8% to US$4.578 billion, but revenue dropped by 4.6% to US$42.779 billion. 

CFO John Stephens said: “With the uncertainty caused by COVID and the recovery, we have withdrawn all prior financial guidance. No one knows the full duration and magnitude of this situation. We have been running several different stress test scenarios with varying degrees of severity. 

ViacomCBS sees revenue fall 6% but streaming usage grows 
ViacomCBS reported lower first-quarter earnings and revenue, including advertising revenue, as the novel coronavirus pandemic hit its income, but streaming saw some positives for the firm. 

The broadcaster, announcing its second results since the remerger of Viacom and CBS last year, saw somestic streaming and digital video revenue grew 51% to $471 million, while domestic streaming subscribers surpassed the 13.5 million mark. 

Live TV and originals like Star Trek: Discovery, Star Trek: Picard, The Good Fight and Survivor drove consumption records in April on CBS All Access, with total streams and minutes watched up significantly 

The company said revenue for its full quarter as a merged company dipped 6% to $6.7 billion. 

Advertising revenue declined 19% year-over-year to $2.5 billion, but the company said this would have risen by 2% excluding CBS’ Super Bowl LIII figures from 2019.  

“ViacomCBS delivered solid results in our first full quarter, including sequential improvement on key financial metrics, as well as clear operating momentum. In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, we also took decisive action to fortify our balance sheet, protect our employees and help communities in need. And through new creative strategies and production models, we continue to deliver must-watch content that big audiences love,” said CEO Bob Bakish.