Earnings Watch: Disney and other entertainment giants report after upbeat results from peers, but investors are getting harsher on companies that don’t deliver

by | Nov 5, 2023 | Stock Market

Last month, Netflix Inc.
stock jumped after it reported big subscriber gains and hiked prices. Last week, results from Paramount Global
beat expectations, sending shares of the streaming and entertainment giant on its best percentage gain in nearly a year, and Roku Inc.
also offered an upbeat outlook. This week — as Walt Disney Co., Warner Bros. Discovery Inc., Lions Gate Entertainment Corp. and AMC Entertainment Holdings Inc. all report results — we’ll get a deeper sense of whether the entertainment industry is starting to make investors happy again, even if they make viewers less happy in the process.

Those companies will report as the streaming industry, under pressure from investors to turn a better profit, consolidates and as platforms charge more to watch and cram more advertisements into shows and films. Cable TV providers and movie theaters, too, are trying to figure out a way forward as streaming becomes more prevalent. Even as Hollywood’s writers come back to work following a strike that shut down production, its actors are still striking, with issues surrounding AI usage to portray actors, streaming payments and other issues in the balance. Disney
which reports results on Wednesday, faces questions about losses at Disney+, efforts to cut billions in costs and stamp out streaming-account sharing, its planned takeover of the streaming platform Hulu and speculation over which of its large media properties it might sell. BofA analysts recently estimated that ESPN, which Disney has leaned on for years, could be worth around $24 billion. Meanwhile, activist investor Nelson Peltz has been angling for seats on Disney’s board, and its fight with Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis continues. Elsewhere, Warner Bros. Discovery
— the parent company of the streaming service Max, Warner Bros. Pictures, Discovery Channel, CNN and other channels — reports on Wednesday, as it tries to turn its reserves of intellectual property into franchise films. Meme-stock theater chain AMC
which also reports Wednesday, following upbeat results from rival Cinemark Holdings Inc.
Sales at the theater chains have been lifted in recent months by “Barbie” and “Oppenheimer.” While both were original films, analysts have said the avalanche of sequels and remakes in theaters is unlikely to stop. The pressure to boost profits will ultimately affect what TV shows and films get made, and what viewers actually consume. And a report from FactSet on Friday found that investors have been more unkind than usual to companies whose results come up short of Wall Street’s expectations. That report found that through the third-quarter earnings season, companies whose earnings miss expectations have seen an average stock-price drop of 5.2% during the two …

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